More About the Author
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.