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Honorée Fanonne Jeffers Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

The Gospel of Barbecue (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Outlandish Blues (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Red Clay Suite (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Glory Gets (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Age of Phillis (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora(2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Civil Rights Reader(2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
The 1619 Project(2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
What God Is Honored Here?(2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Kenyon Review, Nov/Dec 2020(2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers is an American author and poet. She made her debut as a novelist in 2021 after releasing The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois. Jeffers works is known for the ways in which she examines culture, religion, race, and family.

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois was selected for Oprah’s Book Club and was a top seller. The book was also a hit on the awards circuit as it was longlisted for the 2021 National Book Award for Fiction, was a finalist for the 2021 Kirkus Prize in fiction, and made numerous Best Books of the Year lists. New York Times reviewer Veronica Chambers said it was the best book that she ever read.

Jeffers was born in Kokomo, Indiana, but grew up in North Carolina and Georgia. She attended Talladega College and then headed off to the University of Alabama where she earned her MFA. In school, she was the only Black poet in the creative writing program. Her poetry while at the University of Alabama was far more radical which lead to her discovering a need to be more subtle in her work.

She is also the author The Age of Phillis. The work focuses on an 18th-century poet named Phillis Wheatle. A white woman wrote of her death in 1784, but scholars have said that her account read like a sentimental novel and erased much of the trauma of her life. Honorée set off to tell the story the right way. She was granted the 2009 Robert and Charlotte Baron Fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society to support her research in the endeavor as well as the writing of The Age of Phillis. The book took her fifteen years to finish, but Honorée felt as if she was chosen by Phillis to write it.

The original narrative was written by Margaretta Matilda Odell who ignored many aspects of her life and barely mentions the fact that Phillis was enslaved by the Wheatley family. The author claimed to be related to the Wheatley family. The story instead portrayed Susan Wheatley as a benevolent Christian who saved Phillis, and John Peters as a man who seduces Phillis and then leaves her broke.

Correcting this narrative was one of the aims of Jeffers in the writing. She found that the story of Peters was wrong. She also found little evidence that Odell was related tot the Wheatley family. The Age of Phillis sets to correct this narrative as she tells the story through a mix of poetry, creative fiction, and historical research. The poem Jeffers’ writes manages to fill in the gaps of the original Odell story of Phillis’ life and provides a commentary on numerous issues.

The book was long-listed for the 2020 National Book Award for Poetry and won the 2021 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Poetry. Other awards that Honorée has received in her career include the Harper Lee Award for Literary Distinction, the Stan and Tom Wick poetry prize, and honors from the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, and the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund for Women. She was also inducted into the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame.

In addition to her writing, Jeffers works as a professor at the University of Oklahoma in the creative writing department.

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois is the debut novel from Honorée Fanonne Jeffers. W.E.B. Du Bois was a great scholar who wrote about the problems with race in America. One of the things he wrote about was Double Consciousness, a sensitivity that every African American possesses in order to survive. Ever since Ailey Pearl Garfield was a child she has understood exactly what that meant. She was named after two strong Black Americans, choreographer Alvin Ailey and her great grandmother Pearl, and now carries Du Bois’s Problem around with her.

Ailey grew up in the north, but spends her summers in the south in a small Georgia town known as Chicasetta. Her mother’s family has lived there since their ancestors came from Africa in bondage. Ailey has long struggled for belonging while dealing with the hovering trauma. She also faces the pressures of the women in her family who urge her to succeed in their stead.

Ailey sets to come to terms with her own identity by embarking on a journey into her family’s past. This journey will lead her to uncovering shocking tales of her ancestors in the deep South. As she does so, Aiely will learn to embrace her full heritage and all that comes with it: from the legacy of oppression and resistance, bondage and independence, cruelty and resilience. She will find that her heritage is the story and song of not only her family, but of America itself.

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois is an epic and ambitious novel that can’t be easily categorized. It is a detailed story of the multi-generational heritage of an American family through centuries of American history. The novel spans from the pre-slavery era to the late 20th century and deals with many important themes along the way.

The Age of Phillis is Jeffers’ awarding winning book that imagines the life and times of Phillis Wheatley, a young Black woman who published a book of poetry in 1773. The book challenged the prejudices that existed about Africans and females at the time as many believed something like this wasn’t possible. The author imagines her life and weaves it with poems about Wheatley’s time which featured much political, philosophical, and religious upheaval. To many people Phillis Wheatley is a symbol, but Jeffers’ story is about the human herself and the life that she lived.

The Glory Gets is another poetry collection by Jeffers which won the Harper Lee Award in 2018. This collection focuses on the blues and its three movements of identification, exploration, and resolution in this award-winning collection.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

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