Award-winning novelist Tayari Jones will give a public reading at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 9, in the West Virginia University Mountainlair Gold Ballroom.

Jones, whose appearance is sponsored by the WVU Department of English, is the author ofLeaving Atlanta.The novel, published by Warner Books in 2002, is based on the Atlanta child murders of 1979-80. The book received the prestigious Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and was named Best Novel of the Year by Atlanta Magazine .

Leaving Atlantahas also garnered critical acclaim. It was described asambitiousheartbreaking in its emotional weightby the Washington Post Book World. Publishers Weekly writes,This strongly grounded tale hums with rhythms of schoolyard life and proves Jones to be a powerful storyteller.

Jones is an assistant professor of English at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is the recipient of the Fletcher Pratt Fellowship from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, an Artist Fellowship from the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Gerald Greund Fellowship from the MacDowell Colony.

Her second novel,The Untelling ,will be published next year.

A reception and book-signing will follow the free reading. For more information, call 304-293-3107 ext. 33451.