Discussing the Writings of
Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins
Dr. Cherene Sherrard-Johnson

Cherene's Website

The Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins Society

Published: August 20, 2020

My podcast episode on “Talma Gordon” by Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins is the most downloaded episode I have. Although it is just over a year old, it consistently gets downloads each month. “Talma Gordon” is credited as being one of the earliest published mysteries by a black author.

After seeing the ongoing interest in the episode, I did some more research into Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins and her fascinating writing career. I discovered that there is a Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins Society that is dedicated to encouraging interest in Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins: her life, her writings, and the issues she explored.

I had the honor to talk with Dr. Cherene Sherrard-Johnson who is the president of the Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins Society.

We discussed:

  • The importance of the short story “Talma Gordon” in the history of black literature and the mystery genre.
  • How Hopkins was an early creator of mystery and speculative fiction.
  • The history of black literary magazines and newspapers in the late 1800's and early 1900's.
  • How Hopkins writing developed over her writing career.
  • How Hopkins used her writing in the fight against lynching and the fight to provide protection for Black women.
  • The history and role of the Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins Society and the resources available on the society’s website.
  • The life and writings of Dorothy West and how she is a continuation of the literary tradition created by Pauline Hopkins.