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February 22, 2012

The 75th Anniversary of Their Eyes Were Watching God

By Jordan Kisner | Literature

Literature: The 75th Anniversary of Their Eyes Were Watching God
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographic Division, Carl Van Vechten Collection

Everybody loves a comeback kid, and for many, Their Eyes Were Watching God is a particular favorite. Zora Neale Hurston’s novel about a young black woman’s self-discovery irked male critics upon its release in 1937 and went out of print until 1978, when it burst back onto the scene to become one of the most popular books in the African-American canon. Now, 75 years after its initial publication, the book is being properly feted by WNYC and WQXR with a multi-month celebration that will include lectures, a literary salon, and a roundtable discussion with novelist Alice Walker and Hurston’s niece Lucy Anne Hurston. The highlight of the festivities is the world première of a radio adaptation of the novel, starring Tony Award–winning actress Phylicia Rashad, being performed on February 29 and March 1 for a live audience and webcast. For devoted fans, the Greene Space is offering a VIP-ticket package, which includes entry to all roundtable discussions as well as the live radio broadcast, a signed copy of the radio script and a preshow wine reception with special guests. Events begin February 24; wqxr.org.

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