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A gritty tale of race and exodus catapults first-time author to fame
Ayana Mathis's debut book, "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie," gained instant fame after Oprah Winfrey picked it for her book club.
December 30th, 2012
05:00 AM ET

A gritty tale of race and exodus catapults first-time author to fame

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) – Ayana Mathis' story seems one of overnight sensation.

It begins like this: She was on vacation in Paris and was expecting a 15-minute call for a couple of quotes about her first novel.

She picked up the telephone to hear the voice of none other than Oprah Winfrey, who'd tapped Mathis' debut work for her book club.

And whoosh! She was off.

Publisher Knopf sped up her publication date by six weeks and increased the initial print run to 125,000.

Mathis' face appeared in magazines and newspapers along with profiles and a glowing review in The New York Times.

It was, she said, stunning.

She felt like a pendulum, swinging from elation one moment to overwhelmed the next. FULL POST

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Filed under: Black in America • Literature • Who we are • Women