Tina McElroy Ansa stories and essays have appeared in several recent anthologies. She lives with her husband, Joneé Ansa, on St. Simons Island, off the coast of Georgia.
Ansa was born in Macon, GA, the youngest of five children. In 1971, she graduated from Spelman College, the historically black women's college which is part of the Atlanta University Center in Atlanta, GA. Her first job after college was on the copy desk of The Atlanta Constitution, where she was the first black woman to work on the morning newspaper. During her eight years at The Atlanta Constitution, she worked as copy editor, makeup editor, layout editor, entertainment writer, features editor, and news reporter. She also worked as editor and copy editor for The Charlotte (NC) Observer. Since 1982, she has been a freelance journalist, newspaper columnist and writing workshop instructor at Brunswick College, Emory University and Spelman College. (Excerpted www.harpercollins.com, Photo by Joneé Ansa)
Paperback: 284 pages
Publisher: DownSouth Press (July 1, 2008)
Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1 inches
Best-Selling author Tina McElroy Ansa returns with her signature ability to tell a good, quirky story and tell it with humor, grace and great respect for the power of the particular (The New York Times Book Review) with her new novel TAKING AFTER MUDEAR. TAKING AFTER MUDEAR, Ansa s fifth novel, is the superbly crafted sequel to her award winning best-seller, UGLY WAYS. And it is the book fans have been waiting for.
Jill McCorkle calls UGLY WAYS, an absolute beauty...that crackles and sings with life. And although, as TAKING AFTER MUDEAR opens, the matriarch of the Lovejoy family has been dead for months, she and Ansa s newest novel again crackle and sing with life. TAKING AFTER MUDEAR continues to follow the story of the three Lovejoy sisters and their mother Mudear, who is deceased but refuses to die, in the small Georgia town of Mulberry. The baby of the family, Annie Ruth, -- pretty, unmarried and hugely pregnant with the first Lovejoy grandchild -- has moved back to Mulberry and is living with her big sister, Betty, a prosperous businesswoman. The middle girl, Emily, who claims she has taken a leave of absence from her job in Atlanta, has moved in, too, to help out and mostly raise the level of sibling tension and friction.
But just as the girls begin to think things have settled down for them, Mudear, their recently deceased, self-centered, self-focused mother, starts to make her presence felt again. And with the birth of Annie Ruth s baby girl, the fragile Lovejoy family situation begins to totter even more. With each piece of evidence that something otherworldly and strange is indeed still hanging around the Lovejoy household, the sisters suspect more and more that they are being haunted by their mother. With various baby s daddies showing up and Lovejoys having signature meltdowns, things soon escalate into a full-flown supernatural Mulberry battle for the very life of the newborn child. Indeed, Mudear has come back for that baby girl!! And the sisters have to discover if they are merely the Lovejoy girls ( Them girls still got some ugly ways about em! Mudear is fond of muttering.) or truly the Lovejoy women!!
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Format: Hardcover, 336pp.
Publisher: William Morrow & Co
Pub. Date: April 2002
Edition Desc: 1 ED
Written with power, wisdom, and humor, this touching novel explores the inexhaustible passion that fuels familial ties.
It is the spring weekend of the Peach Blossom Festival in the tiny middle Georgia town of Mulberry, but things are far from sweet for the Pines women. LaShawndra, an eighteen-year-old hoochie mama who wants nothing more out of life than to dance in a music video, has messed up...again. But this time she isn't sticking around to hear about it. She plans instead to hitchhike out of Mulberry with her arms wrapped around some handsome stranger on a motorcycle -- avoiding repercussions for her actions.
Not that her mother seems to care; after all, Sandra is busy working on her flourishing real-estate career and on a tenuous relationship with the local minister. It's LaShawndra's grandmother, Lily Paine Pines, a former schoolteacher, principal, school-board administrator, and highly respected cornerstone of the Mulberry community, who is out scouring the streets at midnight looking for her granddaughter.
Over the course of one weekend these three disparate women, guided by the wisdom of three unexpected visitors -- the ghosts of Miss Moses, Nurse Joanna Bloom, and Miss Elizabeth Dryer -- will learn to face the pain of their lives and discover that with reconciliation comes the healing they all desperately seek. In this magical, deeply resonant novel, Tina McElroy Ansa goes straight to the heart of women's relationships to reveal the indestructible soul that bonds us all.
Hand I Fan With
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Format: Paperback, 480pp.
Publisher: Doubleday & Company, Incorporated
Pub. Date: January 1998
Ansa's third novel. First published in October of 1996 by Doubleday. This is the beautifully erotic love story of Lena McPherson and the 100-year old ghost -- Herman -- she calls up to love and cherish her. The novel was awarded the Georgia Authors Series Award for 1996. Ms. Ansa also won this same award for her debut novel, Baby in the Family, and is the only two-time winner of the honor.
In The Hand I Fan With, Ansa returns to the fictional small town of Mulberry, Georgia, where her previous two bestselling novels, Baby of the Family and Ugly Ways, were set. Filled with eccentric and terminally nosy folks, Mulberry is a vibrant community whose leading citizen is the extraordinary Lena McPherson. With the death of Lena's parents in a plane crash ten years earlier, she has become the one on whom everyone in Mulberry depends - she's the hand they fan with. Now forty-five, Lena's beginning to weary of shouldering everyone's problems. And her material wealth gives her no emotional sustenance. Desperate for love and companionship, she and a friend perform a supernatural ritual to conjure up a man for Lena. She gets one all right: a ghost named Herman who, though dead for one hundred years, is all man. His love changes Lena's life forever, satisfying as never before her physical and spiritual needs.
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Format: Paperback, 1st ed., 277pp.
Publisher: Harcourt Brace & Company
Pub. Date: December 1994
Ansa's second novel. The African-American Blackboard List named the novel Best Fiction in 1994. Ms. Ansa was nominated for an NAACP Image Award in 1994 for Ugly Ways and the novel was on the African-American Best-sellers/Blackboard List for more than two years. Award-winning actress Alfre Woodard has entered into a partnership with Ms. Ansa to bring Ugly Ways to the screen.
Three sexy, screwed-up Southern sisters come home to Mulberry to put their totally self-centered mother, Mudear, in her grave. We meet the Lovejoy women as they gather in their mother's house to lay her and the demons she has dumped on them to rest.
Mudear Lovejoy was the kind of mother who ruled her house and raised her daughters with an iron hand-even after her "change." Betty is her oldest daughter, big-boned and strong, the only one who remembers what Mudear was like before The Change. Emily is the middle child, restless and divorced, the one who everyone assumed would be the first after Mudear to crack. The youngest is wild Annie Ruth, a TV anchorwoman who is pregnant out of wedlock and plagued by visions of menacing cats. Ernest, their father, is a kaolin mine worker who is so overwhelmed by all the females around him that sometimes he just wants to yell out, "Womens taking over my house!"
As the sisters reminisce, they are unaware that even though Mudear's body is laid out in Parkinson Funeral Home, she is not so easily buried. Her spirit refuses to die, and she floats around Mulberry, watching her daughters stretched out on her porch smoking cigarettes, drinking her husband's liquor from her best glasses, and talking about marijuana like "some damn black girl hippies."
In alternating voices, each member of the Lovejoy family tells us what preys on his or her mind. As they prepare for the memorial, sit up with the body, and at the funeral itself, each must come to grips with her relationship to Mudear. At the same time, each must define what a mother, a black mother--their mother--is.
Format: Paperback, 276pp.
Pub. Date: May 1991
Edition Desc: REPRINT
Child at the moment of her birth, with the power to see ghosts and predict the future. But only one nurse knows the spells to ensure that Lena will see good ghosts, not evil ones.
Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times. Baby of the Family was also on the African-American Bestseller List for Paperback Fiction. In October 2001, Baby of the Family was chosen by the Georgia Center for the Book as one of the Top 25 Books Every Georgian Should Read. The book also won both the American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults in 1990 Award, and won the 1989 Georgia Authors Series Award. She and her husband, AFI (American Film Institute) Fellow filmmaker Jonee Ansa, are currently adapting Baby of the Family for the screen as a feature film starring Alfre Woodard, Ruby Dee, Loretta Devine, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Cylk Cozart, Vanessa Williams, Todd Bridges, Pam Grier, and Tonea Stewart. The author is collaborating with her husband on the screenplay for Baby of the Family, which he will direct and shoot in summer 2002 in Macon, GA. Ms. Ansa is executive producer. Patrice Rushen is the film's composer.
Joneé Ansa is a graduate and two-year Director of Photography 2nd year Fellow of The American Film Institute (AFI), the prestigious film conservatory in Los Angeles, California. Director/ Director of photography / Screenwriter/ Founder of DownSouth Filmworks Inc. My film “Baby of the Family” is based on the 1989 New York Times Notable Book of the year, By Tina McElroy Ansa. Coming in 2011 Working on my film
BABY OF THE FAMILY
A DownSouth Filmworks Production - a Jonee Ansa film
A Novel by-Tina McElroy Ansa
Screenplay written by Jonee Ansa & Tina McElroy Ansa
Directed by Jonee Ansa.
Tina McElroy Ansa and Jonee Ansa take us into an absorbing world of eccentric characters with this evocative, delicately comic story of a young girls coming of age. From the moment of her birth in a rural black hospital in Georgia. Lena McPherson is recognized by all the nurses as a special child, one with the power to see ghost and predict the future. Only Nurse Bloom knows the spells to ensure that the child will see benevolent spirits, not evil ones, but she hasn't bargained for Lena's mother, who scoffs at "old timey ideas " and discreetly disposes of the special tea the nurse has brewed. No ill effects are immediately apparent to Lena's relatives in their spacious house on the prosperous side of town. But early on there are signs of trouble, and Lena is prey to suspicions no one else need consider: a new face may be a new kid in town-or it may be the face from the grave. From a special little girl, Lena grows into an especially fearful adolescent. Ultimately, she must accept that those she loves can give her love and nothing more and that she must find her own, uncertain way.