Whiting Award-winning author Kaitlyn Greenidge joined author Mira Jacob (Good Talk) to celebrate the launch of Libertie. Coming off the major success of her debut novel We Love You, Charlie Freeman, Greenidge returns with a powerful narrative about the meaning of freedom for black women. Told in Reconstruction-era Brooklyn, musically-inclined protagonist Libertie seeks to etch out a life of independence while navigating relationships with her white-passing physician mother and her Haitian partner, who remains entrenched in his country’s patriarchy. Acclaimed stage and screen actor Kara Young opened the event with a dramatic reading from Greenidge’s new novel.
By Kaitlyn Greenidge
Published by Algonquin Books
Coming of age as a free-born Black girl in Reconstruction-era Brooklyn, Libertie Sampson was all too aware that her purposeful mother, a practicing physician, had a vision for their future together: Libertie would go to medical school and practice alongside her. But Libertie, drawn more to music than science, feels stifled by her mother’s choices and is hungry for something else—is there really only one way to have an autonomous life? And she is constantly reminded that, unlike her mother who can pass, Libertie has skin that is too dark. When a young man from Haiti proposes to Libertie and promises she will be his equal on the island, she accepts, only to discover that she is still subordinate to him and all men. As she tries to parse what freedom actually means for a Black woman, Libertie struggles with where she might find it—for herself and for generations to come.
Inspired by the life of one of the first Black female doctors in the United States and rich with historical detail, Kaitlyn Greenidge’s new novel resonates in our times and is perfect for readers of Brit Bennett, Min Jin Lee, and Yaa Gyasi.