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Jamila Minnicks Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Moonrise Over New Jessup (2023)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Jamilla Minnicks is a literary fiction author that is best known for her very popular novel “Moonrise Over New Jessup.”

This novel which was published in 2023 would become a critically acclaimed work of fiction that would win the Bellwether/PEN award for Socially Engaged Fiction. Aside from the novel, she had been writing in other formats long before.
Minnicks has published essays and short fiction in prestigious publications all over the United States. Her works have been published in the likes of The Write Launch, The Sun, Blackbird, CRAFT, Catapult, and other places.
She is also a Pushcart Prize-nominated author for her piece “Politics of Distraction.” In 2022, she was the winner of a Tennessee Williams scholarship, which provided an opportunity to attend the Sewanee Writers’ Conference.
Soon after that, she also became a resident at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Jamila is also a University of Michigan graduate.
She currently makes her home in Washinton, District of Columbia.

While Jamilla Minnicks had always wanted a career as an author, it would take a long time before she achieved her dream.

It took her two months to pen the first draft of Moonrise Over New Jessup. By this time, she has finished writing her first NaNoWriMo manuscript which is still on a laptop in her bedroom.
After penning a few short fiction works in 2022, she intended to go back to her NaNoWriMo project, but she had a scene in her imagination that just would not go away.

The scene in her head was that of a family in an intense debate over the ruling n the Brown v. Board of Education while having dinner during the holidays. It was initially a short story as her short fiction usually began with an all-consuming idea.
The dialogue and scenes came quickly and captured her attention. The image of Alice gliding around the table dishing collards, and sliding turkey into plates was very interesting.
She had a knowing and wry smile on the corners of her lips as she intently took in the points that people were raising. But what really made her pen the novel was the lead character’s Alabama spice smile which she had seen in many among her family.

As for her inspiration, Jamilla Minnicks has said that they are too many to count.

Some of her favorite authors include the likes of Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, Chinua Achebe, Deesha Philyaw, Sonia Sanchez, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, Margaret Walker, and Maurice Carlos Ruffin among many others.

These are authors that captured her imagination with the depth of their prose and poetry. They also fascinated Minnicks with their talents and gifts which enabled them to accurately write stories that capture the full culture and history of Black people.
From these authors, she learned how to write with intent, intelligence, and curiosity about her community. She also learned that it is critical for Black authors to champion one another, care for one another and learn from one another.
From Barbara Kingsolver, she learned how to write fearlessly with unparalleled heart and intimacy. From Claire Messud, she learned how to light fires with a pen.

Sonia Segovia taught her to allow the landscape to be its own experience while Fyodor Dostoevsky and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s works taught her the impotence of tension and suspension.

Apart from these, there is another long list of scholars and thinkers many of whom are from her family. She had many conversations with her mother and discussions with friends and family that have continued to guide her on her writing journey.

While she has only had one novel published by 2023, Jamilla Minnicks is a very committed writer.

She writes every day waking up at 4:00 AM though she will sometimes be too under the weather or come in too late to make that early hour productive.

Nonetheless, she has said that ever since she began writing Moonrise Over New Jessup, she has only slept in a handful of days.

She has said that loves waking up very early in the mornings since at 4 AM, her waking world and her dream world tend to blend together into one world.

She will sometimes wake up and find herself lacking clear writing direction. When such a thing happens, she will write the impressions and thoughts that come to her from a liminal place.
It is a place where sometimes she feels like she is in close communion with her ancestors and where language is very malleable.

Some of Jamilla Minnicks’ best works have come from that practice and hence even though she is no longer practicing law, she still loves to get up and write at 4:00 AM.

Jamilla Minnicks’ novel “Moonrise Over New Jessup” is a critically acclaimed novel that was the winner of the Bellwether/PEN Prize in 2021.

This is an enchanting and thought-provoking debut that tells the story of a Black woman. She is a woman that will do anything to protect her loved ones at the start of the Alabama Civil Rights movement.
The work opens in 1957 and introduces Alice Young, a woman that has had to leave the only home she has ever known.

She just stepped off the bus into New Jessup an all-black town in Alabama where the residents have been viciously rejecting integration as a way to promote the social advancement of Blacks.

Instead, they are interested in fortifying and maintaining their community on their exclusive side of the woods. Here Alice falls in love with a man who is known for clandestinely organizing activities of the Black resistance.
Raymond Campbell’s activities seek to challenge a longstanding status quo in Jessup that could result in both of them being expelled from the home they hold dear or worse.

But as he continues to advocate for alternatives to enhance the political power of Blacks in Jessup, Alice has to find a way to balance her new desire to protect her new home from rising upheaval and her support for Raymond’s undercover activities.

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