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Driven: Reflections on Love, Career and the Pursuit of Happiness


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Driven, Reflections on Love, Career and the Pursuit of Happiness explores my evolution as one of those bra-burning, pants-wearing, education-getting, money-making, opinion-having, sex-enjoying, career-focused Black women who grew up in the 70’s deciding to live life and live it abundantly with or without a man.

Like many career women, I flew through my twenties and thirties and forties, but fifty brought everything to a sudden stop. My fiftieth birthday was like a spiritual thief that snuck up behind me, held a gun to my head, and demanded my soul. That milestone triggered a deep longing to better understand the choices I’d made in my life, to examine my journey.

Offering words of wisdom, personal examples, cultural analysis, historical context, and suggestions for change, these essays will help readers think about the complexity of life’s choices and the challenges facing women today, particularly when it comes to relationships vs. careers. 

About the author

Venise Berry is the author of three national bestselling novels, So Good, An African American Love Story (Dutton/Penguin, 1996), All of Me, A Voluptuous Tale (Dutton/Penguin 2000) and Colored Sugar Water (Dutton/Penguin/Putnam 2002).

She is currently completing her fourth novel Pockets of Sanity. She is published widely in academic circles with numerous articles based on her research in the area of media, African Americans, and popular culture. Two black film book projects were co-authored, The Historical Dictionary of African American Cinema (Scarecrow Press 2007, 2nd ed. 2015) and The 50 Most Influential Black Films (Citadel 2001). Black Culture and Experience: Contemporary Issues was co-edited under Peter Lang Publishing (2015). Finally, she is working on a second book also with Peter Lang Blackish, Black Jesus, and the First Black American President: Racialism and the Media to be released in 2019.

In 2003 Berry was honored by the Zora Neale Hurston Society with a “Creative Contribution to Literature” Award. All of Me received a 2001 Honor Book Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Her co-edited text, Mediated Messages and African- American Culture: Contemporary Issues (Sage, 1996) won the Meyers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America in 1997.

Each winter Berry serves as fiction faculty for the Solstice Low-Residency Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, MA and every summer she teaches workshops at the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival. There are a number of presentations and workshops that she conducts including, Weight and wellness: Challenging Myths, Racialism and the Media, Words that Set You Free, Food for the Spirit, and Success Strategies in the 21 st Century.

Venise Berry is an associate professor of Journalism and African American Studies at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. For more information visit Venise Berry’s web site at: www.veniseberry.com

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Venise Berry
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