Today’s GalleyCrush is Honorée Fanonne Jeffers’s The Love Songs of W. E. B. Du Bois, forthcoming from Harper on July 27, 2021.
Perfect pitch: “The 2020 National Book Award–nominated poet makes her fiction debut with this 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.”
First lines: “We are the earth, the land. The tongue that speaks and trips on the names of the dead as it dares to tell these stories of a woman’s line. Her people and her dirt, her trees, her water.”
Book buzz: “This sweeping, brilliant and beautiful narrative is at once a love song to Black girlhood, family, history, joy, pain… and so much more. In Jeffers’s deft hands, the story of race and love in America becomes the great American novel.” —Jacqueline Woodson
Book notes: Hardcover, fiction, 816 pages.
Author bio: Honorée Fanonne Jeffers is a fiction writer, poet, and essayist. She is the author of five poetry collections, including The Age of Phillis, which won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry, was longlisted for a National Book Award, and was a finalist for the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry. She was a contributor to The Fire This Time, edited by Jesmyn Ward, and has been published in the Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, and other literary publications. Jeffers was elected into the American Antiquarian Society, whose members include fourteen U.S. presidents, and is critic-at-large for the Kenyon Review. She teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Oklahoma.