Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, the September Featured Author of Oprah’s Book Club, in Conversation

September 10, 2021

Home » Library News » Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, the September Featured Author of Oprah’s Book Club, in Conversation

Largo, Md. – The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System is honored to co-present a virtual conversation with September’s featured Oprah’s Book Club author Honorée Fanonne Jeffers on Monday, September 20 at 12 pm. The virtual event continues the Library’s robust anti-racism education programs for adults and is co-presented with the University of Maryland English Department and Center for Literary & Comparative Studies. Jeffers’ most recent books are “The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois” (Harper, 2021) and “The Age of Phillis” (Wesleyan University Press, 2020). She will be in conversation with Kerry Sinanan, Assistant Professor of English, University of Texas-San Antonio. The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required at pgcmls.info/events.

Jeffers’ first novel captures what W.E.B. Du Bois coined “Double Consciousness,” a survival mechanism of Black Americans, in the experiences of the novel’s main character Ailey Pearl Garfield, who is raised up North, but spends her summers in the deep South. In a journey to explore her roots, Ailey uncovers the good, the bad, and the ugly. The shocking tales of generations of ancestors–Indigenous, Black, and white–in the deep South unfold. In doing so, Ailey embraces her full heritage filled with oppression and resistance, bondage and independence, cruelty and resilience–the song of America itself.

In addition to this novel, Jeffers’ other works include: “The Age of Phillis” (2020), long-listed for the National Book Award in Poetry and nominated for the 2021 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry; “The Gospel of Barbecue” (2000); “Outlandish Blues” (2003); “Red Clay Suite” (2007); and “The Glory Gets” (2015).

Jeffers received the 2018 Harper Lee Award for Literary Distinction, a lifetime achievement award and won the Emerging Fiction Fellowship from the Aspen Summer Words Conference. Fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society fellowships, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Vermont Studio Center, the Witter Bynner Foundation through the Library of Congress, and the Tennessee Williams’ Scholarship in Fiction from the Sewanee Writers Conference are among her accomplishments. Jeffers is a Professor of English at the University of Oklahoma.

The host, Dr. Kerry Sinanan, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Texas-San Antonio, received her doctorate from Trinity College, Dublin in 2003. She has taught at several universities in the United Kingdom and Ireland including the University of the West of England, and the National University of Ireland, Galway. She is now completing her monograph, Myths of Mastery: Traders, Planters and Colonial Agents 1750-1833 for The University of North Carolina Press. This book examines the writings in various genres by slave traders and slave owners from the mid-eighteenth century up to British emancipation (1834).

This event is co-presented with the University of Maryland Center for Literary and Comparative Studies, “Antiracism: Communities + Collaborations.” Registration through the University of Maryland is required for this event.

About the University of Maryland Center for Literary and Comparative Studies, “Antiracism: Communities + Collaborations”

Antiracism: Communities + Collaborations allows the Center for Literary & Comparative Studies to carry our collective work from 2020-21 forward as we return to campus. Following the Mellon Foundation’s new emphasis on building “just communities,” “Antiracism: Communities + Collaborations” features scholarship, teaching, and public engagement to reimagine boundaries, model antiracist literary and rhetorical inquiry, and foster collaborative relations across and beyond campus.

Antiracism: Communities + Collaborations builds on the Center for Literary and Comparative Studies’ 2020-2021 series, Antiracism: Research • Teaching • Public Engagement, which featured 66 speakers and 22 events, and registered over 3,000 people from 13 countries (with an archive of 19 videos and essays drawn from the series published in the Los Angeles Review of Books and forthcoming in Public Books and The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation), the CLCS Steering Committee is sponsoring a second year of antiracist programming in 2021-2022.

About the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System

The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) helps customers discover and define opportunities that shape their lives. The Library serves the 915,000+ residents of Prince George’s County, Maryland through 19 branch libraries, a 24/7 online library, and pop-up services throughout the community. PGCMLS is a responsive and trusted community-driven organization. Programs, services, and outreach activities serve booklovers, immigrants and refugees, job seekers, children, young professionals, seniors, and families alike.

PGCMLS’ robust online offerings include curated content collections for kids, teens, educators, Spanish speakers, and more. Virtual events and outreach provide access to the Library from the comfort of home or on the go. Special programs include the D.R.E.A.M. Lab, STEM Pals, and 3D printing, which offer teens and lifelong learners with opportunities to learn cutting-edge technology and STEM skills for job readiness or personal enrichment. The Library also provides drive-up WiFi access at all branches and mobile hotspot devices. The Library’s Laurel Branch Library received the 2018 AIA/ALA Library Building Award and was designated the best new public building in Maryland.

As a strong community partner, the Library regularly collaborates with local government agencies and non-profit organizations to provide access to essential community services and programs. Partners include the Prince George’s County Human Relations Commission, Employ Prince George’s, Prince George’s County Public Schools, and Prince George’s Community College. Learn more at pgcmls.info or by visiting the Largo-Kettering Branch at 9601 Capital Lane, Largo, MD 20774.