Sarah M. Broom, author of The Yellow House, will appear live in conversation with Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation, via Crowdcast.
The Yellow House, Sarah M. Broom’s dazzling memoir of her family’s shotgun home in New Orleans East arrives in paperback this July. Winner of both the National Book Award for Nonfiction and the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize, this unforgettable memoir has won the hearts of critics and book lovers alike, named one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by New York Times Book Review, Chicago Tribune, Slate and many others. In the same way that Edward P. Jones is obsessed with D.C., Joan Didion with California, John Edgar Wideman with Homewood, and Philip Roth with Newark, Broom is obsessed with New Orleans. It’s the city of her birth, the city where her mom purchased a yellow shotgun house in 1961 and raised twelve children, Sarah being the youngest. But this isn’t the New Orleans that tourists, or even most longtime New Orleanians, know. New Orleans East is fifty times the size of the French Quarter, but historically ignored by travelogues, entangled in systems of race and class, and neglected long before Hurricane Katrina. Broom’s obsession with place begs an important question grounded in geography, belonging, and erasure: what does it mean—for a place, a people, a family—to be unmapped? She leaves readers to consider the answers as she guides them through a decades-ranging mosaic of heartbreak, survival, and transformation, ultimately telling us the story beneath the story we may have thought we knew about “The Big Easy.”
Broom drew from hours of family research and studies of primary sources to tell us the story of her family’s yellow camelback shotgun house, which bore witness to a fascinating personal history, innately Southern and American at once. At the same time that Broom recounts her family’s lore, she makes a compelling case that New Orleans East—home to NASA and the Space Race—is an essential locale in a new American mythology. With her timeless narrative, Broom plumbs the depths of family ties and inheritance, home and homesickness, and absence and loss. The Yellow House examines the seeping rot of inequality, and the internalized shame that often follows. It is a transformative, deeply moving story from an unparalleled new voice of startling clarity, authority, and power.
About Presenter Sarah Broom
Sarah M. Broom has contributed to the New Yorker, New York Times Magazine, Oxford American, and O, The Oprah Magazine, among others. She received her Master’s in Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, and has been awarded fellowships from the Djerassi Resident Artists Program and The MacDowell Colony. She lives in Harlem with her partner, filmmaker Dee Rees, and a tiny brown dog.