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Emily Bernard

Emily Bernard is the author of Black is the Body (Knopf, 2019), winner of the 2020 Los Angeles Times Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose. Her first book, Remember Me to Harlem: The Letters of Langston Hughes and Carl Van Vechten (Knopf, 2001), was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.


Illustration by Rachel Levit-Ruiz

All That She Was

Spring 2022 | Essays

A genius of the South. An embarrassment to the race. Singular American author; craven literary con artist. She was a loving champion of Black vernacular; she was a mundane writer of facile prose. A misunderstood cultural icon; a perfect darkie. Survivor. Victim. Trickster, liar. These are the various lenses through which generations of critics, fans, scholars, and detractors have assessed the life of Zora Neale Hurston.