Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
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About Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
Honorée Fanonne Jeffers is a poet, fiction writer, and essayist. Her first novel, The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois, is forthcoming from Harper in July 2021; in addition, she’s the author of five books of poetry, most recently, The Age of Phillis (Wesleyan, 2020), based upon fifteen years of research on the life and times of Phillis Wheatley (Peters), a formerly enslaved person who was the first African American woman to publish a book. Jeffers’s poems, stories, and essays have appeared in American Poetry Review, Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry (Norton 2013), Callaloo, Common-Place: The Journal of Early American Life, The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race (Scribner 2016), The Kenyon Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review, among others. She is the recipient of fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society, the Aspen Summer Words Conference, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Witter Bynner Foundation through the Library of Congress, and she has been honored with two lifetime achievement notations, the Harper Lee Award for Literary Distinction, and induction into the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame. Jeffers is Critic-at-Large for The Kenyon Review and Professor of English at University of Oklahoma.
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Titles By Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
AN OPRAH BOOK CLUB SELECTION
LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION • A FINALIST FOR THE KIRKUS PRIZE FOR FICTION • SHORTLISTED FOR THE CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE • LONGLISTED FOR THE ASPEN WORDS LITERARY PRIZE
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year • A Washington Post 10 Best Books of the Year • A Oprah Daily Top 20 Books of the Year • A BookPage Best Fiction Book of the Year • A Booklist 10 Best First Novels of the Year • A Kirkus 100 Best Novels of the Year • A Parade Pick • A Chicago Public Library Top 10 Best Books of the Year
An Instant Washington Post, USA Today, and Indie Bestseller
"Epic…. I was just enraptured by the lineage and the story of this modern African-American family…. A combination of historical and modern story—I’ve never read anything quite like it. It just consumed me." —Oprah Winfrey, Oprah Book Club Pick
An Indie Next Pick • A New York Times Book Everyone Will Be Talking About • A People 5 Best Books of the Summer • A Good Morning America 15 Summer Book Club Picks • An Essence Best Book of the Summer • A Time 11 Best Books of the Month • A Washington Post 10 Books of the Month • A CNN Best Book of the Month • A Ms. Most Anticipated Book of the Year • A Goodreads Most Anticipated Book of the Year • A BookPage Writer to Watch • A USA Today Book Not to Miss • A Chicago Tribune Summer Must-Read • An Observer Best Summer Book • A Millions Most Anticipated Book • A Ms. Book of the Month • A Well-Read Black Girl Book Club Pick • A BiblioLifestyle Most Anticipated Literary Book of the Summer • A Deep South Best Book of the Summer • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
The 2020 NAACP Image Award-winning poet makes her fiction debut with this National Book Award-longlisted, magisterial epic—an intimate yet sweeping novel with all the luminescence and force of Homegoing; Sing, Unburied, Sing; and The Water Dancer—that chronicles the journey of one American family, from the centuries of the colonial slave trade through the Civil War to our own tumultuous era.
The great scholar, W. E. B. Du Bois, once wrote about the Problem of race in America, and what he called “Double Consciousness,” a sensitivity that every African American possesses in order to survive. Since childhood, Ailey Pearl Garfield has understood Du Bois’s words all too well. Bearing the names of two formidable Black Americans—the revered choreographer Alvin Ailey and her great grandmother Pearl, the descendant of enslaved Georgians and tenant farmers—Ailey carries Du Bois’s Problem on her shoulders.
In the shadow of the American Revolution, a young, African American woman named Phillis Wheatley published a book of poetry, Poems on various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773). When Wheatley's book appeared, her words would challenge Western prejudices about African and female intellectual capabilities. Her words would astound many and irritate others, but one thing was clear: this young woman was extraordinary. Based on fifteen years of archival research, The Age of Phillis, by award-winning writer Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, imagines the life and times of Wheatley: her childhood with her parents in the Gambia, West Africa, her life with her white American owners, her friendship with Obour Tanner, her marriage to the enigmatic John Peters, and her untimely death at the age of about thirty-three.
Woven throughout are poems about Wheatley's "age"—the era that encompassed political, philosophical, and religious upheaval, as well as the transatlantic slave trade. For the first time in verse, Wheatley's relationship to black people and their individual "mercies" is foregrounded, and here we see her as not simply a racial or literary symbol, but a human being who lived and loved while making her indelible mark on history.
Winner of the Harper Lee Award (2018)
In her three previous, award-winning collections of blues poetry, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers has explored themes of African American history, Southern culture, and intergenerational trauma. Now, in her fourth and most accomplished collection, Jeffers turns to the task of seeking and reconciling the blues and its three movements—identification, exploration, and resolution—with wisdom. Poems in The Glory Gets ask, "What happens on the road to wisdom? What now in this bewildering place?" Using the metaphor of "gets"—the concessional returns of living—Jeffers travels this fraught yet exhilarating journey, employing unexpected improvisations while navigating womanhood. The spirit and spirituality of her muse, the late poet Lucille Clifton, guide the poet through the treacherous territories other women have encountered and survived yet kept secret from their daughters. An online reader's companion will be available.