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Margo Jefferson talks to Max Liu

Constructing a Nervous System

Hay Festival 2022 , 

Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and acclaimed author of Negroland Margo Jefferson shatters herself into pieces to examine each influence, love and passion that has thrilled and troubled her and made up her sense of self as a person and as a writer – her family, jazz luminaries, dancers, writers, lovers, artists, athletes and stars.

Jefferson interrogates race, class, family, art and identity as well as the act of writing memoir, and probes fissures at the centre of American cultural life. Bing Crosby and Ike Turner are among the author’s alter egos. The sounds of a jazz LP emerge as the intimate and instructive sounds of a parent’s voice. WEB Du Bois and George Eliot meet illicitly. The muscles and movements of a ballerina are spliced with those of an Olympic runner, becoming a template for what a black female body can be.

She talks to journalist Max Liu.

Margo Jefferson talks to Max Liu