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2021 Debuts from RJFWA winners Honorée Fanonne Jeffers (’97) and Shawna Kay Rodenberg (’17)


(l-r): Honorée Fanonne Jeffers (photo: Sydney A. Foster) and Shawna Kay Rodenberg


Honorée Fanonne Jeffers (’97) The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois (Harper, July 2021). Longlisted for the 2021 National Book Award, Finalist for the 2021 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, New York Times 10 Best Books of 2021, starred review in Publishers Weekly, and an Oprah’s Book Club Selection. A prize-winning poet (The Age of Phillis), Jeffers published her debut novel this year. “It is the story of Ailey Pearl Garfield as she comes to terms with her own identity and embarks on a journey through her family’s past, uncovering the shocking tales of generations of ancestors—Indigenous, Black, and white—in the deep South. In doing so Ailey must learn to embrace her full heritage, a legacy of oppression and resistance, bondage and independence, cruelty and resilience that is the story—and the song—of America itself.” Shawna Kay Rodenberg (’17) Kin (Bloomsbury, June 2021). “Kin is a mesmerizing debut memoir of survival that seeks to understand and make peace with the people and places that were survived. It is above all about family—about the forgiveness and love within its bounds—and generations of Appalachians who have endured, harmed, and held each other through countless lifetimes of personal and regional tragedy.” See more news and learn about other recent publications from our award winners here.

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