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Jeffrey Colvin Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Africville (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Jeffrey Colvin is an acclaimed American author of historical fiction, cultural, adult fiction novels and short stories. He is particularly famous for writing his debut book called Africaville. Colvin’s first book has received many positive reviews from numerous prominent critics all over the world. Such reviews and ratings have helped him to make his arrival felt in the field of writing. Author Colvin was born and brought up in Alabama, United States. Currently, he resides in New York City. He has been involved in writing book reviews, essays, and a full-length novel in his new place of residence. Colvin has also been doing the teaching work and grant writing for communities and small arts organizations. Before he returned to school for pursuing an MFA, Colvin served in the US Marine Corps for five years. He has also worked as a congressional aide, nonprofit manager, and an advertising analyst. An excerpt from Colvin’s debut novel has featured in the Narrative magazine. A few of his other fiction materials, essays, and reviews have appeared in Painted Bride Quarterly, Hot Metal Bridge, The Millions, Rain Taxi Book Reviews, The Brooklyn Rail, and several other literary magazines and journals.

Colvin says that if it had not been for the support of the Cuttyhunk Writers Residency’s Paul Cuffee Scholarship, he would have not succeeded in completing his debut novel. His efforts were also supported by the receipt of Hambidge Center’s Nelie Mae Roe Distinguished Fellowship. Previously, Colvin has received fellowships and grants in the past from Colgate University, Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Vermont Studio Center, and Norman Mailer Center. Currently, Colvin is serving as Narrative magazine’s assistant editor. He is a proud member of the National Book Critics Circle. Colvin has graduated from the United States Naval Academy, Columbia University, and Harvard University. He holds an MFA from Columbia University.

The inspiration to write his debut book was derived from his own life by author Colvin. While he was growing up in Alabama, he witnessed the disappearance and the migration of many once-thriving black communities. Colvin says that he had a connection to one of the rural communities of Alabama through his grandmother. As a result, he was aware of many stories about the communities. Colvin started writing down the stories that were mostly set in the 60s and 70s. During the 80s, a number of those communities had already disappeared. When Colvin came home one summer, he found that his grandmother was gone too. The town that once stood there was no longer found and the last house was also destroyed. Colvin came to think about these stories again in 2001 when he came across an article in the newspaper about a town named Halifax in Canada.

As Colvin learned more about Halifax, he began to understand the connections between the tales that his grandmother used to tell him about her former community. Later, he thought that it would be interesting to explore this topic more and come up with a larger narrative that could educate the world about such communities and towns by expanding into a novel. Although Colvin has talked about the town of ‘Africaville’ in his first book, he has tried to explain the larger picture of how village residents react to the outside world and how the outside world reacts to them. He thought this would be an interesting theme to develop his story and would be read through generations. Author Colvin wishes the readers to connect with him and his storytelling abilities. He looks forward to writing many more inspiring stories in the years to come. Colvin is grateful for all the love and support provided to his debut novel by various critics, readers, and fellow writers. He is also thankful for all the kind words and genuine reviews given to him and his book on various literary platforms. Colvin hopes to continue doing the good work and entertaining his fans for as long as he can.

The debut book written by author Jeffrey Colvin is entitled ‘Africaville’. It was released by the Amistad publication in 2019. The primary characters mentioned in this book include Kath Ella, Warner, and Etienne. Colvin has set this novel in the small town of Nova Scotia settled by ex-slaves. The book’s story depicts how several generations of a family get bound together and then torn apart by faith, fate, time, and blood. With a triptych structure, the novel revolves around the lives of 3 generations of the Sebolt family. Etienne is depicted as the son of Kath Ella and Warner is shown as her grandson. The lives of all three characters unfold against the 20th century’s tumultuous events, starting from the 1930s’ Great Depression to the 1960s’ social protests and then to the 1980s’ economic upheavals.

Initially, it is mentioned that Kath Ella’s ancestors had established their new home in Nova Scotia around a century ago. And just like her forefathers, her life is also filled with hardships. She struggles to bear a child in her womb and to look after her family’s hunger needs during the long Canadian winters. Kath Ella also faces the lingering suspicions of her neighbors about the presence of dark-skinned ‘outsiders’ in their midst. The love of Kath Ella for her son Etienne cannot help her surpass the racial prejudices lingering in her remote, tight-knit town. As Etienne grows up, he becomes rebellious, refutes his past, and decides to move away from his family. He threatens to upend everything that his mother and others have worked so hard to build.

In the next few decades, each generation of Kath Ella’s family drifts further away from Africaville. And as they go on to settle in places like Vermont, Montreal, and other places of America, they carry a piece of the place with them that is very close to their heart. This novel explores the idea of identity, cross-racial relationships, passing, home’s meaning, and the importance of belonging to a place. It also narrates the larger story of the experience of black people living in parts of the United States and Canada. Overall, this book is vibrant, lyrical, and filled with colorful and exciting details. It is told in a haunting, powerful voice.

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