The Reid Family Writers
of Color Reading Series

Since 2008, The Reid Family Writers of Color Reading Series has brought a procession of some of the most celebrated writers of color to Fordham.  Events have included readings, master classes and panel discussions.  The English Department at Fordham is deeply grateful to the Reid Family for their generosity.

Student Testimonials and Media
The Reid Family Prize
List of previous Reid Writers


2015 Reid Writer: Ayana Mathis

Ayana Mathis is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a recipient of the 2014-15 New York Public Library's Cullman Center Fellowship. THE TWELVE TRIBES OF HATTIE, her first novel, was a New York Times Bestseller, a 2013 New York Times Notable Book of the Year, an NPR Best Books of 2013 and was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as the second selection for Oprah's Book Club 2.0. Ayana taught Creative Writing at The Writer's Foundry MFA Program at St. Joseph's College, Brooklyn. She is an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.


On The Twelve Tribes of Hattie:

A debut of extraordinary distinction: through the trials of one unforgettable family, Ayana Mathis tells the story of the children of the Great Migration, a story of love and bitterness and the promise of a new America.

In 1923, fifteen-year-old Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia and settles in Philadelphia, hoping for a chance at a better life. Instead, she marries a man who will bring her nothing but disappointment and watches helplessly as her firstborn twins succumb to an illness a few pennies could have prevented. Hattie gives birth to nine more children whom she raises with grit and mettle and not an ounce of the tenderness they crave. She vows to prepare them for the calamitous difficulty they are sure to face in their later lives, to meet a world that will not love them, a world that will not be kind. Captured here in twelve luminous narrative threads, their lives tell the story of a mother's monumental courage and the journey of a nation.

Beautiful and devastating, Ayana Mathis's The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is wondrous from first to last--glorious, harrowing, unexpectedly uplifting, and blazing with life. An emotionally transfixing page-turner, a searing portrait of striving in the face of insurmountable adversity, an incredible encounter with the resilience of the human spirit and the driving force of the American dream, Mathis's first novel heralds the arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction.


April 14, 2015
Lincoln Center Campus Events

  • 11:00 am - 12:30 pm:  Reading and Book Signing, Costantino 2-02, Fordham Law School (150 W. 62nd Street (between Broadway & Amsterdam)


April 15, 2015
Rose Hill Campus Events

  • 3:00 pm - 3:45 pm:  High School Student Master Class (Invitation Only)

  • 4:00 pm - 4:45 pm:  Fordham Student Master Class (Invitation Only)

  • 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm:  Reading and Book Signing, Keating 3rd Auditorium


The Reid events are made possible through the generosity of Kenneth and Frances K. Reid and the sponsorship of The Fordham English, African & African American Studies and Departments and Creative Writing, American Studies and Comparative Literature Programs.