Ray Hinton’s memoir, “The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row,” is Oprah Winfrey’s latest book club pick. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Oprah Winfrey picks prison memoir for her book club

NEW YORK — Anthony Ray Hinton, wrongly imprisoned for nearly 30 years, can hardly believe how his luck has changed.

Hinton’s memoir, “The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row,” is Oprah Winfrey’s latest book club pick, a dream for virtually any writer and beyond the imagination for a man who was once confined to a 5-by-7-foot cell. Tuesday’s announcement comes three years after Hinton’s release from Jefferson County Jail in Birmingham, Alabama. He had been convicted for two 1985 murders in Birmingham, where he still lives.

Hinton, during a recent telephone interview with The Associated Press, called Winfrey’s endorsement “the second biggest surprise” of his life.

“The biggest surprise was being charged with a crime I didn’t commit.”

Published in March, Hinton’s book tells of his conviction for killing two fast-food restaurant workers during separate robberies, and his decades spent on death row. His efforts to overturn the conviction reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which in 2014 unanimously ruled he had been denied a fair trial. Hinton was freed after new ballistics tests contradicted the only evidence — an analysis of crime-scene bullets — that connected Hinton to the slayings. When he finally got out, the words he spoke to loved ones greeting him — “The sun does shine” — became his memoir’s title.

Hinton, 61, likened himself to Job as a man who lost everything, but eventually saw his life restored. Speaking of his time in jail, he said, “Every day was hell, every night was hell, every waking moment was hell.” But upon leaving, “The sun was shining brighter than I could ever remember it shining.”

Hinton’s legal case was taken on by the Alabama-based Equal Justice Initiative and its director, Bryan Stevenson, whose 2014 book “Just Mercy” is considered essential reading about the criminal justice system. Stevenson provided the foreword to “The Sun Does Shine,” which Hinton wrote with Lara Love Hardin. Her other credits include co-writing “The Book of Forgiving” with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu.

In a promotional video released Tuesday, Winfrey noted that most of her picks over the past 20 years have been works of fiction. But she said “The Sun Does Shine” was a worthy exception.

“This story reads like an epic novel and it is all true,” Winfrey said. “You will, throughout the book, try to imagine yourself — falsely accused, and in a 5-by-7 cell for 30 years. He is a remarkable storyteller and when you read it you’ll be swept away.”

Winfrey’s interview with Hinton will air Sunday on her OWN network. Her “O” magazine will highlight “The Sun Does Shine” in its July issue. Winfrey has turned dozens of books into bestsellers, whether older works such as John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden” or contemporary novels such as Jane Hamilton’s “A Map of the World.”

In February, Winfrey chose a novel that also focuses on a man jailed for a crime he didn’t commit, Tayari Jones’ “An American Marriage.”

Just Posted

WATCH: Central Albertans learn about farm life at Sunnybrook Farm Museum

Pioneer Days Festival in Red Deer Saturday-Sunday

Number of seniors who play bridge in Red Deer growing

Red Deer Bridge Club has been around for close to 60 years

PHOTOS: Buccaneers battle Wolfpack in AFL semifinal

The Central Alberta Buccaneers battled the Calgary Wolfpack in the Alberta Football… Continue reading

Raising awareness for Bikers Against Child Abuse

Second annual Raise A Ruckus Against Child Abuse was held at the Red Deer Radisson Hotel Saturday

Central Alberta Yogathon cancelled Saturday

Due to air quality concerns the fourth annual event will take place Sept. 15

VIDEO: Central Albertans learn about Icelandic poet at Stephansson House

Harvest Fair and Quilt Show hosted at Stephansson House in Spruce View Sunday

Trump says his White House counsel not a ‘RAT’ like Nixon’s

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — President Donald Trump insisted Sunday that his White House… Continue reading

Wildfire moves closer to Glacier National Park’s scenic road

MISSOULA, Mont. — A wildfire in Montana’s Glacier National Park is forcing… Continue reading

Prime Minister Trudeau, Premier Couillard march in Montreal’s Pride parade

MONTREAL — Thousands of cheering spectators lined the streets of Montreal on… Continue reading

All eyes on Andrew Scheer as Conservative convention set for Halifax

OTTAWA — After a week of internal caucus squabbles, Conservative Leader Andrew… Continue reading

Canadians fear for relatives trapped amid flooding in Indian state of Kerala

In the wake of deadly flooding in the Indian state of Kerala,… Continue reading

Indonesia’s Lombok island jolted by multiple quakes

SEMBALUN, Indonesia — Strong earthquakes jolted the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok… Continue reading

Afghan president calls for Eid cease-fire, Taliban to reply

KABUL — Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has called for a conditional cease-fire… Continue reading

Montreal may have less influence after October provincial election

MONTREAL — When Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault recently dismissed the… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month