Belfast Telegraph

Tayari Jones: I am the future and Trump is the past

The prize-winning author has given a rallying cry for an ‘equitable future’.

Tayari Jones, whose novel An American Marriage has won the 2019 Women’s Prize For Fiction. (Stand Agency)
Tayari Jones, whose novel An American Marriage has won the 2019 Women’s Prize For Fiction. (Stand Agency)

Award-winning US author Tayari Jones claims she represents the future, while Donald Trump craves the past.

The winner of the 2019 Women’s Prize For Fiction has said she flies the flag for an inclusive America, against the “nostalgic” vision of the current president.

Jones accepted the literary award in London hours after Trump had departed the city, speaking about her opposition to the politician, and her desire for the UK and US to “ live up the ideals of all of our nations”.

The author claimed the award for her novel An American Marriage, which explores lives shattered by the wrongful conviction of an African American husband.

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Tayari Jones at the awards ceremony in London following her win (Stand Agency/PA)

In a rallying cry, Jones said that the “house is on fire” politically, and she and other novelists want to put the blaze out, while everyone else must contribute what they can.

Speaking to the Press Association, Jones said: “I believe that I represent the future. I represent an inclusive America, an America that is critical of itself, and that is interested in a more equitable future.

“I believe that Donald Trump represents an idea of a nostalgic past, a nostalgic 50s when the ugliness is hidden.

“That’s not where we’re going. We’re seeing so many harbingers that the people want freedom, the people want equality, the people want the future to live up the ideals of all of our nations.”

In contention for the Women’s Prize For Fiction were My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite, Milkman by Anna Burns, Ordinary People by Diana Evans, Circe by Madeline Miller, and The Silence Of The Girls by Pat Barker.

It was Jones’ tale of injustice and the complexities of love which claimed the 2019 prize.

The author believes each of her fellow authors has spoken “truth to power”, and everyone must play their part in a political fight.

Jones told the Press Association: “We are all engaged with the world we live in.

“Choosing to ignore the pressing issues: that is a political statement also, they’re not divorced from it, they’re ignoring it.

“I think we’re in a moment now, the house is on fire, we want to put the fire out. Those of use who write fiction, write poetry, write anything, this is what we have to help. Everyone must contribute what they can.”

Jones claimed a £30,000 prize for her award-winning novel.

PA

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