Thursday, 7:00 pm EDT February 16, 2023
The Center for Fiction
The Ticket/Voucher option includes a $10 Bookstore voucher, redeemable toward the featured event book on the night of the event. All registrants will receive a link to livestream the event.
The Center for Fiction welcomes Jamila Minnicks for a rich conversation on her acclaimed debut novel, Moonrise Over New Jessup, winner of the 2021 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. In this enchanting novel, Alice arrives in New Jessup, a thriving, self-sufficient Black community where people are skeptical of those lobbying for integration. There, she falls in love with Raymond Campbell, whose clandestine organizing activities challenge New Jessup’s longstanding status quo. Moonrise Over New Jessup offers an insightful, fresh perspective of Black people flourishing in the American South, a celebration of Black joy, and a timely examination of the opposing viewpoints that attended desegregation in America. Award-winning author Robert Jones, Jr. (The Prophets) joins Minnicks to discuss her compelling and complex novel about love, family, community, and safety.
Presented in partnership with PEN America.
Jamila Minnicks is the author of Moonrise Over New Jessup, the 2021 winner of the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. Her work is also published in CRAFT Literary Magazine, The Write Launch, and The Silent World in Her Vase. Her piece, “Politics of Distraction,” was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan, the Howard University School of Law, and Georgetown University. She lives in Washington, D.C.
Photo Credit: Samia Minnicks
Robert Jones, Jr.
Robert Jones, Jr.
Robert Jones, Jr. is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel, The Prophets, which won the 2022 Publishing Triangle Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and the 2022 NAIBA Book of the Year Award for Fiction. It was also a finalist for the 2021 National Book Award for Fiction and was named a notable book by the New York Times and one of the best books of 2021 by Time, Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, the Boston Globe, and the Washington Post, among many others. His writings have been featured in the New York Times, Essence, and the Paris Review, as well as in the critically acclaimed anthologies Four Hundred Souls and The 1619 Project. Subscribe to his newsletter, Witness, at robertjonesjr.substack.com.
Moonrise Over New Jessup
By Jamila Minnicks
Published by Hachette / Algonquin
It’s 1957, and after leaving the only home she has ever known, Alice Young steps off the bus into all-Black New Jessup, where residents have largely rejected integration as the means for Black social advancement. Instead, they seek to maintain, and fortify, the community they cherish on their “side of the woods.” In this place, Alice falls in love with Raymond Campbell, whose clandestine organizing activities challenge New Jessup’s longstanding status quo and could lead to the young couple’s expulsion—or worse—from the home they both hold dear. As they marry and raise children together, Alice must find a way to balance her undying support for his underground work with her desire to protect New Jessup from the rising pressure of upheaval from inside, and outside, their side of town.
Based on the history of the many Black towns and settlements established across the country, Jamila Minnicks’s heartfelt and riveting debut is both a celebration of Black joy and a timely examination of the opposing viewpoints that attended desegregation in America.
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