Speaker: Anita Gail Jones
“Overall, book publishing industries worldwide have much work to do to make room at all tables for diversified voices. In far too many corners, publishing mirrors the wider, domineering societies in which they function, stifling, suppressing and oppressing a multitude of robust, distinct voices by way of omission. In my writing, I’m seeking to reflect the times. Because the past haunts the present, we often find ourselves reckoning with the failures of history again and again. Nothing illustrates this fact better than the project I worked on this past summer elevating the voices of four Marin County heroes from the World War II shipbuilding era in Marin City/Sausalito.
In my upcoming novel, Peach Seed Monkey, I invite readers to face some difficult themes from history that are tragically repeated in the novel’s present day, 2012, and— it horrifies me to say—even now, a decade later. Each of us must help lead this charge to see more and more untold and undertold stories finally have a place in what should be a cultural dialogue, not a soliloquy. I refuse to look away.” – Anita Gail Jones
Anita Gail Jones is a visual artist, professional storyteller and writer. Anita was born and raised in Albany, Georgia, and lives in Northern California. She maintains a strong connection with this southwest corner of Georgia – in fact, it is the setting for her upcoming debut novel. Peach Seed Monkey was a finalist in the 2021/PEN Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction and was recently acquired by Holt & Company for publication in spring 2023. Anita is an alumna of Hedgebrook, a women’s writers community on Whidbey Island off the coast of Seattle. Her short story, Hand-Me-Down Blues, won an award from The Pinch literary journal. She was a 2018-19 Affiliate Artist at The Headlands Center for the Arts in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In addition to her work as a storyteller, visual artist and writer, Anita and her husband, Rob Roehrick, founded the