“In luminous, lyrical prose, Tara Stringfellow sings the song of the North women—and the North men—with wisdom, humor, and deep humanity. Memphis is an American epic, a tribute to life in all of its sorrow and joyful resilience.” — Chloe Benjamin, bestselling author of The Immortalists

Tara M. Stringfellow is a former attorney, Northwestern University MFA graduate, and two-time Pushcart Prize nominee whose debut novel and national bestseller Memphis was a Read with Jenna pick and longlisted for the Women’s Prize in Fiction, Aspen Literary Prize and Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize. Her poetry collection, Magic Enuff, will be published in June 2024 and was heralded by Warsan Shiree as “a guiding light of tenderness and power.”

A cross-genre artist, the author was Northwestern University’s first MFA graduate in both poetry and prose and her work has appeared in Collective Unrest, Jet Fuel Review, Minerva Rising, Women’s Arts Quarterly and Apogee Journal, among others. After having lived in Okinawa, Ghana, Chicago, Cuba, Spain, Italy, and Washington, D.C., she moved back home to Memphis, where she sits on her porch swing every evening with her hound, Huckleberry, listening to records and chatting with neighbors.

Tara M.'s Featured Titles

Magic Enuff: Poems

Dial Press Trade Paperback |

Radiant poems that celebrate Black Southern womanhood and the many ways magic lives in the bonds between mothers, daughters, and sisters, from the bestselling author of Memphis.

“God can stay asleep / these women in my life are magic enuff”

An electrifying collection of poems that tells a universal tale of survival and revolution through the lens of Black femininity. Tara M. Stringfellow embraces complexity, grappling with the sometimes painful, sometimes wonderful way two conflicting things can be true at the same time. How it’s possible to have a strong voice but also feel silenced. To be loyal to things and people that betray us. To burn as hot with rage as we do with love.

Each poem asks how we can heal and sustain relationships with people, systems, and ourselves. How to reach for the kind of real love that allows for the truth of anger, disappointment, and grief. Unapologetic, unafraid, and glorious in its nuance, this collection argues that when it comes to living in our full humanity, we have—and we are—magic enough.


The Dial Press |
Literary Fiction

Summer 1995: Ten-year-old Joan, her mother, and her younger sister flee her father’s explosive temper and seek refuge at her mother’s ancestral home in Memphis. This is not the first time violence has altered the course of the family’s trajectory. Half a century earlier, Joan’s grandfather built this majestic house in the historic Black neighborhood of Douglass—only to be lynched days after becoming the first Black detective in the city. Joan tries to settle into her new life, but family secrets cast a longer shadow than any of them expected.

As she grows up, Joan finds relief in her artwork, painting portraits of the community in Memphis. One of her subjects is their enigmatic neighbor Miss Dawn, who claims to know something about curses, and whose stories about the past help Joan see how her passion, imagination, and relentless hope are, in fact, the continuation of a long matrilineal tradition. Joan begins to understand that her mother, her mother’s mother, and the mothers before them persevered, made impossible choices, and put their dreams on hold so that her life would not have to be defined by loss and anger—that the sole instrument she needs for healing is her paintbrush.

Unfolding over seventy years through a chorus of unforgettable voices that move back and forth in time, Memphis paints an indelible portrait of inheritance, celebrating the full complexity of what we pass down, in a family and as a country: brutality and justice, faith and forgiveness, sacrifice and love.


Memphis: A Setting and a Novel

Memphis is my debut novel, but also a distinct character of her own right in the book. A discussion of how setting can become characterization and how place grounds our own narrative stories.


Pen as the Sword: Writing Protest Poetry & Political Satire

A talk on how my writing has always been my instrument to protest injustices in this country from police brutality, racial oppression, and women’s reproductive rights.


Writers Festival Appearances

In creative gathering for aspiring writers, published authors, screenwriters, poets, and songwriters, Tara describes her journey from divorce to going back to school for her MFA to writing her debut novel Memphis.  Keynote Presentation.


Festival of Women Authors

For festivals focused on established and emerging women authors, Tara gives a speech that focuses on her inspiration for writing her debut novel Memphis, from police brutality in her city to the banning of books in her home state of Tennessee.


Presentation for Southern Hosts

Tara leads a discussion session and Q&A in celebration of Southern Writers; she discusses what it’s like to be an author of color in today’s political landscape, and how topics such as women’s reproductive rights, police brutality, and racial oppression led her to write Memphis.


An Evening of Poetry

Tara gives a poetry reading, answers questions from the audience and speaks about her writing journey.

Tara’s Events Link

Honors, Awards & Recognition

National Bestseller, Memphis, April 2022
Women’s Prize for Fiction, Longlisted, March 2023
North Carolina Chapel Hill Fiction Prize, Longlisted, July 2023
Aspen Words Literary Prize, Longlisted, December 2022
Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize, Shortlisted, July 2022
Roxane Gay Book Club Pick, May 2022
Best Book of the Year, Amazon Books, April 2022
Read with Jenna Book Club Pick, The Today Show, April 2022
Book Pipeline Fiction Contest, Winner, February 2020
Best of the Net Nomination for Poetry, Collective Unrest, 2019
Pushcart Prize Nomination for Poetry, Collective Unrest, 2018
Best of the Net Nomination for Poetry, Jet Fuel Review, 2017
Pushcart Prize Nomination for Poetry, Linden Avenue Literary Journal, 2016
Dean’s List, Northwestern University, 2006—2017
Dean’s List, Chicago-Kent College of Law, 2012—2013
Davee Fellowship Recipient, Northwestern University, 2007

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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