Jane Lazarre's compelling novel explores America's mixed racial history through the lives of four families whose fates are intertwined across several generations from slavery to the present. Unflinching in its description of the horrors of slavery and racism as well as the taboos on all sides of the racial divide,the novel moves us in the present, and prepares us for the future. Lazarre is unflinching in her depiction of the destructive historical assumptions and taboos on all sides of the color and racial divide. . . .and in her luminous prose, Inheritance becomes an unsettling and necessary meditation on the messiness of America’s shared racial heritage in all its quarrelsome parts.
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About the Author
Jane Lazarre is a writer of fiction and non-fiction, including memoir, journalism and essay. She is the author of the novels: Some Place Quite Unknown (Hamilton Stone Editions), Some Kind of Innocence (Dial Press), The Powers of Charlotte (Crossing Press, Painted Leaf Press), Worlds Beyond My Control (Dutton, Painted Leaf Press). She is the author of the memoirs: The Mother Knot (McGaw-Hill, Dell Paper, Beacon Press, Duke University Press); On Loving Men (Dial Press), Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness: Memoir of a White Mother of Black Sons (Duke University Press), and Wet Earth and Dreams: A Narrative of Grief and Recovery (Duke University Press.) Her work has been translated and published in England, Germany, Italy and France. She has recently completed a book of poems, Bodies of Water, and the novel Inheritance, excerpts of which have appeared in the on line journals, Persimmon Tree, Hamilton Stone Review, Salt River Review, and Lilith, Summer, 2009.
Lazarre's essays, articles and reviews have been published in newspapers, magazines and journals, and collected in many anthologies over the past thirty years. Her fiction won the National Endowment for Arts Award and the New York Foundation for Arts Award in 1990. She has been keynote speaker, and extensively read her work and presented papers at universities that include Harvard University, Brown University, Yale University, and the City University of New York, and also at national conferences on literature, diversity and teaching race. She has given talks and lead workshops and seminars on race and teaching race at independent and public schools. She has presented her own work and lead panels of writers at such venues as the 92 Street Y, The Jewish Museum in New York City, and many others (a complete list of venues and titles are available upon request). In 2003 she was a featured writer in the PBS documentary, "Matters of Race," produced and directed by Orlando Bagwell. Her work has been the subject of critical works by many scholars including Susan Gubar, Jessica Benjamin, Maureen T. Reddy, Sara Ruddick, Joanne Frye and others. Authors such as Alice Walker, Tillie Olsen, Adrienne Rich, Sekou Sundiata, Philip Lopate, Grace Paley and others have written comments praising her work. Her books have been reviewed in an array of publications that include The New York Times, The Washington Post, Publisher's Weekly, and The Women's Review of Books. An interview with Lazarre regarding her work in progress about her father, a veteran of the Spanish Civil War and a leading American Communist, as well as her views on fiction, memoir, race and the making of historical fiction, appears on the website of the noted composer and music critic, Tom Manoff. Lazarre's story, "Channel Surfacing" appeared in the Spring/Summer issue of Women's Studies Quarterly, published by Feminist Press.
Lazarre has taught writing and literature at the City College of New York, Yale University and Eugene Lang College at the New School, where she created and directed the undergraduate writing program for ten years, and served on the full time faculty for twenty years. She taught fiction writing, the art of memoir, the personal essay, as well as literature courses in the American and English novel, and African American autobiography and fiction. She was one of several faculty members selected to participate in a grant from the Ford Foundation to expand and create curriculum to reflect diversity in race, class and gender. She received the Myers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America for her memoir, Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness. In 1995 she was the recipient of the University Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 2004, Lazarre retired from her full time teaching position in order to focus on new writing. In 2006/7, she was a guest lecturer at Lang College in a class on personal writing as historical testimony taught by the poet, Sekou Sundiata. In 2009, she was invited to read and discuss her most recent work at College of Wooster, Ohio and University of Rhode Island.
Lazarre earned a Bachelor's of Arts in English from the City College of New York, a Masters in Anthropology from the Graduate Faculty at the New School, and completed two years of course work at the American Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. She serves on the board of directors of The Brotherhood-Sister Sol, an organization in Harlem that serves Black and Latino children and youth, and on the Advisory Board of Persimmon Tree.