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About Jervey Tervalon
Jervey Tervalon(fiction) was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, but moved to the Jefferson Park/Crenshaw area of Los Angeles, California, with his family as a young boy. He attended the University of California at Santa Barbara where he graduated with a BA in Literature. He received his MFA from UC Irvine where he studied with Thomas Keneally and Oakley Hall. His thesis project became the novel Understand This for which he won the 1994 New Voices Award from Quality Paper Books was based on his experiences teaching at Locke High School. He's had four novels and a collection of stories and two anthologies and numerous short stories, essays and articles published. His most current publication is "Golden: The Education of a Young Pootbutt,"in Slake Magazine, published in July 2010.
David L. Ulin
published: February 12, 1998
JERVEY TERVALON sold his first poem to Scholastic magazine while he was still in junior high school. "'My God,'" the Pasadena resident remembers thinking, "'I can make money at this.' And I've been deluded ever since." Raised in Los Angeles, he attended Dorsey High School and UC Santa Barbara, where he wrote stories about his neighborhood, publishing them in "little magazines that no one reads." After graduation, Tervalon taught at Locke High School before entering the MFA program at UC Irvine; there, he returned to a work in progress about South-Central that ultimately became his first novel, Understand This. Although the book won a Quality Paperback Book Club New Voices Award in 1994, Tervalon has been stymied in his attempts to publish subsequent work - his second novel was bought but never issued, and a third book is circulating now. "Most publishers," he says, "feel like they can't lose money underestimating the intelligence of the black reader, and there's no one out there to balance their preconceptions, and prove they're wrong. It's especially hard coming from Los Angeles,
Honors, Awards: Disney Screen-writing Fellow, 1992; Quality Paper Book Club's New Voices Award, 1994; Finalist, Discover New Writers/Barnes and Noble Award, 1994; Honorable Mention, Pushcart Prize, 1996; Gold Crown Award from the Pasadena Arts Council, Remsen Bird Artist in Residence, 2001;. Josephine Miles National Literary Award for Excellence in Multicultural Literature, 2001; California Arts Fellowship, 2003.
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This ambitious anthology of jaw-grinding criminal behavior is masterfully curated by acclaimed authors Gary Phillips and Jervey Tervalon. Cocaine is the subject, the whys and whereofs in The Cocaine Chronicles, a collection of original short stories that are funny and harrowing, sad and scary, but at all times riveting. The Cocaine Chronicles contains tough tales by a cross-section of today’s most thought-provoking writers.
Featuring brand-new stories by: Susan Straight, Lee Child, Laura Lippman, Ken Bruen, Jerry Stahl, Nina Revoyr, Bill Moody, Emory Holmes II, James Brown, Gary Phillips, Jervey Tervalon, Kerry E. West, Donnell Alexander, Deborah Vankin, Robert Ward, Manuel Ramos, and Detrice Jones.
Geography of Rage: Remembering the Los Angeles Riots of 1992 is a collection of personal reflections ranging from the provocative insights of award-winning writers, journalists, and musicians, to highly personal essays and interviews of neighbors, friends, and fellow Angelenos whose lives were forever affected by the riot and its aftermath.
All Jordan Davis wants is a smooth ride, speeding his Triumph along the 101, living the beautiful life among the beautiful people of Santa Barbara, in search of a broader world—one that isn’t defined by his race or class background.
But trouble seems to find him at every turn in the road. There's Trisha, the seductive twenty-two-year-old virgin from the glamorous foothills; there’s Mary, the angry white girl whose defiance is a definite turn-on; and Daphne, an exotic, forbidden student from a college class he teaches, and keeper of shadowy secrets. They all want to define him, limit him, turn him into what they want him to be. But for Jordan, the ultimate question is what does he want out of life—and can a man truly create a destiny that isn't defined by his race or his past?
The historic, handsome city in the shadow of Los Angeles has been a creative hotbed since the Arroyo Arts & Crafts scene of the early twentieth century. This literary journal gathers short fiction by such Pasadena-area writers as Michelle Huneven (Blame), Victoria Patterson (This Vacant Paradise), Jervey Tervalon (Understand This), Naomi Hirahara (Snakeskin Shamisen), Lian Dolan (Helen of Pasadena), Ron Koertge (The Arizona Kid), Dianne Emley (the Nan Vining mysteries), and Jim Krusoe (Parsifal).
Produced as a companion to LitFest Pasadena (May 2013), Literary Pasadena: The Fiction Edition is the first in an annual series that will move on to include editions in poetry, essays, humor, and more.
Quotes on the work of Jervey Tervalon
Los Angeles Times:
The city [of New Orleans] shimmers to life through the perfect pitch of the people who inhabit the tale.
(New Orleans) Tragic, violent, but ultimately transcendent, Dead Above Ground draws the reader in and never lets go.
The Philadelphia Inquirer:
An urban masterpiece, a gritty, haunting West Side Story-esque ghetto epic of stunning violence yet overpowering beauty.
Quarterly Black Review of Books:
Tervalon's prose is both unrelenting and nonjudgmental....[He] reminds us that sad tales and lost souls may tear our hearts apart, but they don't stop life from continually renewing itself.
Los Angeles Times All the Trouble You Need is a page-turner. Drama develops at a tantalizing clip.
Los Angeles Magazine The twisting plots and drawing room intrigues are captivating.
Henry Louis Gates Jr. A powerful new voice in American fiction.
Los Angeles Times:
Lita is fierce....You'd know her if you met her. And that is one of the highest compliments a reader can give a writer.
A return visit to the monstrously twisted family of Dead Above Ground....Hair raising and hellish.
Black Issues Book Review:
Tervalon's writing is crisp and concise, sweet and tart like a ripe Fuji apple. [His] work has grown richer....