32 Books Published by Workman Publishing Co., Inc. on AALBC — Book Cover Collage

Practice

by Ross Gay
Algonquin Books (Oct 24, 2024)
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A 45-year-old Black man. A 24-year-old white man. Both writers. One a teacher; the other his student. Before the pandemic separated them, Ross Gay and one of his graduate poetry students, Noah Davis, met regularly to play one-on-one basketball. It was a real hard workout. After each session they were moved to exchange letters about basketball and so much more. Gay and Davis, who both attended college on sports scholarships, have taught and coached basketball, and love the sport—its beauty, its athleticism—see their letters as a way to work through some of the larger issues inherent in sports, from misogyny to race to competition, and as their friendship deepens, basketball becomes a springboard for talking how men relate to each other and to the world. All while never losing sight of how playing games brings them delight, which is, of course, Gay’s signature subject.


Click for more detail about HBCU Made: A Celebration of the Black College Experience by Ayesha Rascoe HBCU Made: A Celebration of the Black College Experience

by Ayesha Rascoe
Algonquin Books (Jan 30, 2024)
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Edited by NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday host Ayesha Rascoe, HBCU Made is a love letter to historically Black colleges and universities from those who know them best: the prominent alumni who were educated on these campuses. With firsthand accounts about how they chose their HBCU, their first days on campus, the dynamic atmosphere of classes where students were constantly challenged to do their best, the professors who devoted themselves to the students, the marching bands and majorettes and their rigorous training, this collection features stories from graduates of different generations who are now working in media, entertainment, literature, and business.

For some, the choice to attend an HBCU was an easy one, as they followed in the footsteps of their parents or siblings. For others, it was a carefully considered step away from a predominantly white institution (PWI) to be educated in a place where they would never have to justify their presence. And for some authors here, it was an HBCU that took them in and nurtured them like family, often helping them to overcome a rough patch. With stories of colleges both large and small, this anthology explains why the graduates takes so much pride in their HBCU experience.

Like the ultimate campus tour or a long and joyous alumni weekend, HBCU Made is full of warm and moving and candid accounts, celebrating the black college experience in all its diversity.


Click for more detail about Delights: Book 2: Essays by Ross Gay Delights: Book 2: Essays

by Ross Gay
Algonquin Books (Sep 19, 2023)
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From bestselling author of The Book of Delights and award-winning poet Ross Gay, a fresh new volume of lyrical mini-essays celebrating the everyday that will inspire readers to rediscover the joys in the world around us.

The author of the New York Times bestselling The Book of Delights is back with Volume II. In this spirited second collection of short, lyrical, genre-defying essays, again written daily over a year, one of America’s most original and observant voices celebrates the ordinary, helping us see our extraordinary world anew. Delights: Book II is a record of the small wonders we so often overlook in our busy lives. Among Gay’s funny, poetic, philosophical delights: bonding with a pipsqueak of a puppy, observing how his mother bakes 18 kinds of cookies before her grandchildren arrive, the tenderness he feels when he sees an adult wearing braces, or even the acknowledgment that often for him the preamble is more delightful than the thing itself: “putting on your socks and tying up your shoes, and, if you’re the type, filling up your water bottle and doing some light stretching, but skipping the walk entirely.”

In essays that can be at once intimate and political, Gay shows us why he has made the subject as Black joy his own. Even as he practices delight, he doesn’t shy away from complexities of racism in America or the ecological and psychic violence of our consumer culture or the loss of those he loves. More than anything else, though, Gay reveals the beauty of the natural world—the garden, the orchard, the flowers emerging from cracks in the sidewalk, the elegant movements of geese tending to their goslings, and the trillion mysteries of this glorious earth.


Click for more detail about Nightbloom by Peace Adzo Medie Nightbloom

by Peace Adzo Medie
Algonquin Books (Jun 13, 2023)
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Author of Reese’s Book Club Pick His Only Wife, Peace Adzo Medie returns with a moving novel about the unbreakable power of female friendship. After two inseparable young friends in Ghana become estranged, one moving to the U.S., only a crisis can bring them back together and reconnect their bond.

When Selasi and Akorfa were young girls, they were more than just cousins; they were inseparable, they would do anything for each other, they implored their parents to let them be together, and there was no one else who each confided in.

Then Selasi begins to change and become hostile and quiet; her grades suffer, she loses interest in everything, and she begins to build a space around herself, shutting Akorfa out. It will be years before Akorfa learns what has happened, and in the intervening years, the two will become estranged. Only a crisis can ultimately bring them back together.

A riveting depiction of life, class, and family in Ghana, an eye-opening story of life as an African-born woman in the U.S., and an assured follow-up to a much-heralded debut, Nightbloom is above all an accessible and powerful novel attesting to the strength of female bonds in the face of societies that would silence them.


Click for more detail about Mermaid and Pirate by Tracey Baptiste Mermaid and Pirate

by Tracey Baptiste
Algonquin Young Readers (Apr 04, 2023)
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A mermaid and a pirate build a friendship through kindness, empathy, and shared adventure in this heartwarming picture book by New York Times bestselling author Tracey Baptiste, with bright, bold illustrations by Leisl Adams.

Glub glub…
Aargh…

Mermaid and Pirate cannot understand each other. They speak different languages and come from different worlds. But they’re quick to lend a hand, or a tail, when the sky grows stormy and waters get rough, and a friendship is born. Sometimes kindness and generosity speak louder than words.


Click for more detail about I Am Still with You: A Reckoning with Silence, Inheritance, and History by Emmanuel Iduma I Am Still with You: A Reckoning with Silence, Inheritance, and History

by Emmanuel Iduma
Algonquin Books (Feb 21, 2023)
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“Both epic and intimate” —​Margo Jefferson

A deeply moving, lyrical journey through the author’s homeland of Nigeria, in search of the truth about his disappeared uncle and the history of a war that shaped him, his family, and a nation

In inimitable, rhythmic prose, the author and winner of the prestigious Windham-Campbell Prize Emmanuel Iduma tells the story of his return to Nigeria, where he grew up, after years of living in New York. He traveled home with an elusive mission: to learn the fate of his uncle Emmanuel, his namesake, who disappeared in the Nigerian Civil War in the late 1960s. A conflict that left so many families broken, the war remains at the margins of the history books, almost taboo to discuss. To find answers, Iduma stopped in city after city throughout the former Biafra region, reconnecting with relatives dear and distant to probe their memories, prowling university libraries to furtively photocopy illicit books, and visiting half-abandoned monuments along the highway. Perhaps, he realized, if he could understand how his father grieved the loss of a brother in the war, he might learn how to grieve his late father in turn.

His is also the story of countless families across the country and across the world who will never have answers or proper funerals for their loved ones. It’s a story about the birth of an artist, about writing itself as an act both healing and political, even dangerous. And it’s a story about family history and legacy, and all the questions the dead leave unanswered. How much of the author’s identity is wrapped up in this inheritance? And what does it mean to return home, when the people who define it are gone?

Equal parts memoir, national history, and political reckoning, I Am Still With You is a profoundly personal story of collective loss and making peace with the unknowable.


Click for more detail about Inciting Joy: Essays by Ross Gay Inciting Joy: Essays

by Ross Gay
Algonquin Books (Oct 25, 2022)
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An intimate and electrifying collection of essays from the New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Delights.

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2022 In these gorgeously written and timely pieces, prizewinning poet and author Ross Gay considers the joy we incite when we care for each other, especially during life’s inevitable hardships. Throughout Inciting Joy, he explores how we can practice recognizing that connection, and also, crucially, how we can expand it.

In “We Kin,” Gay thinks about the garden (es­pecially around August, when the zucchini and tomatoes come in) as a laboratory of mutual aid; in “Share Your Bucket,” he explores skateboard­ing’s reclamation of public spaces; he considers the costs of masculinity in “Grief Suite”; and in “Through My Tears I Saw,” he recognizes what was healed in caring for his father as he was dying.

In an era when divisive voices take up so much airspace, Inciting Joy offers a vital alternative: What might be possible if we turn our attention to what brings us together, to what we love?

Taking a clear-eyed look at injustice, political polarization, and the destruction of the natural world, Gay shows us how we might resist, how the study of joy might lead us to a wild, unpredictable, transgressive, and unboundaried solidarity. In fact, it just might help us survive.


Click for more detail about The Book of Delights by Ross Gay The Book of Delights

by Ross Gay
Algonquin Books (Aug 16, 2022)
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The New York Times bestselling book of essays celebrating ordinary delights in the world around us by one of America’s most original and observant writers, award-winning poet Ross Gay.

As Heard on NPR’s This American Life

“Ross Gay’s eye lands upon wonder at every turn, bolstering my belief in the countless small miracles that surround us.” —Tracy K. Smith, Pulitzer Prize winner and U.S. Poet Laureate

The winner of the NBCC Award for Poetry offers up a spirited collection of short lyrical essays, written daily over a tumultuous year, reminding us of the purpose and pleasure of praising, extolling, and celebrating ordinary wonders.

In The Book of Delights, one of today’s most original literary voices offers up a genre-defying volume of lyric essays written over one tumultuous year. The first nonfiction book from award-winning poet Ross Gay is a record of the small joys we often overlook in our busy lives. Among Gay’s funny, poetic, philosophical delights: a friend’s unabashed use of air quotes, cradling a tomato seedling aboard an airplane, the silent nod of acknowledgment between the only two black people in a room. But Gay never dismisses the complexities, even the terrors, of living in America as a black man or the ecological and psychic violence of our consumer culture or the loss of those he loves. More than anything else, though, Gay celebrates the beauty of the natural world–his garden, the flowers peeking out of the sidewalk, the hypnotic movements of a praying mantis.

The Book of Delights is about our shared bonds, and the rewards that come from a life closely observed. These remarkable pieces serve as a powerful and necessary reminder that we can, and should, stake out a space in our lives for delight.

“Ross Gay is able to use as little language as possible to populate a world where his memories are your memories, intertwined, reaching out of the pages.” —Hanif Abdurraqib, author of A Little Devil in America “I am indebted to this book for reminding me, reminding us, that there is so much to celebrate in the world.” —Clint Smith, author of How the Word Is Passed


Click for more detail about How You Grow Wings by Rimma Onoseta How You Grow Wings

by Rimma Onoseta
Algonquin Young Readers (Aug 09, 2022)
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A Kirkus Prize Finalist
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the year
A SLJ Best Book of the year
A Rise: A Feminist Book Project honoree
A Chicago Public Library Best Book of the year
Amazon August Editors’ pick for Best Young Adult

An emotionally riveting novel for fans of Ibi Zoboi and Erika L. Sánchez about two sisters in Nigeria on their journey to break free of an oppressive home.

Sisters Cheta and Zam couldn’t be more different. Cheta, sharp-tongued and stubborn, never shies away from conflict—either at school or at home, where her mother fires abuse at her. Timid Zam escapes most of her mother’s anger, skating under the radar and avoiding her sister whenever possible. In a turn of good fortune, Zam is invited to live with her aunt’s family in the lap of luxury. Jealous, Cheta also leaves home, but to a harder existence that will drive her to terrible decisions. When the sisters are reunited, Zam alone will recognize just how far Cheta has fallen—and Cheta’s fate will rest in Zam’s hands.

Debut author Rimma Onoseta deftly explores classism, colorism, cycles of abuse, how loyalty doesn’t always come attached to love, and the messy truths that sometimes, family is not a source of comfort, and that morality is all shades of grey.


Click for more detail about African Icons: Ten People Who Built a Continent by Tracey Baptiste African Icons: Ten People Who Built a Continent

by Tracey Baptiste
Algonquin Young Readers (Oct 19, 2021)
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Click for more detail about Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge Libertie

by Kaitlyn Greenidge
Algonquin Books (Mar 30, 2021)
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"Pure brilliance. So much will be written about Kaitlyn Greenidge’s Libertie—how it blends history and magic into a new kind of telling, how it spins the past to draw deft circles around our present—but none of it will measure up to the singular joy of reading this book." Mira Jacob, author of Good Talk

The critically acclaimed and Whiting Award-winning author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman returns with an unforgettable story about the meaning of freedom.

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.


Click for more detail about Everywhere You Don’t Belong by Gabriel Bump Everywhere You Don’t Belong

by Gabriel Bump
Algonquin Books (Jan 12, 2021)
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“A comically dark coming-of-age story about growing up on the South Side of Chicago, but it’s also social commentary at its finest, woven seamlessly into the work … Bump’s meditation on belonging and not belonging, where or with whom, how love is a way home no matter where you are, is handled so beautifully that you don’t know he’s hypnotized you until he’s done.” —Tommy Orange, The New York Times Book Review

In this alternately witty and heartbreaking debut novel, Gabriel Bump gives us an unforgettable protagonist, Claude McKay Love. Claude isn’t dangerous or brilliant—he’s an average kid coping with abandonment, violence, riots, failed love, and societal pressures as he steers his way past the signposts of youth: childhood friendships, basketball tryouts, first love, first heartbreak, picking a college, moving away from home.

Claude just wants a place where he can fit. As a young black man born on the South Side of Chicago, he is raised by his civil rights–era grandmother, who tries to shape him into a principled actor for change; yet when riots consume his neighborhood, he hesitates to take sides, unwilling to let race define his life. He decides to escape Chicago for another place, to go to college, to find a new identity, to leave the pressure cooker of his hometown behind. But as he discovers, he cannot; there is no safe haven for a young black man in this time and place called America.

Percolating with fierceness and originality, attuned to the ironies inherent in our twenty-first-century landscape, Everywhere You Don’t Belong marks the arrival of a brilliant young talent.

  • Praise For Everywhere You Don’t Belong…
  • Winner of the 2020 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence
  • Winner of the 2021 Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) New Writers Award for Fiction
  • Winner of the 2020 Heartland Booksellers Award for Fiction
  • Winner of the 2021 Black Caucus of the American Library Association’s First Novelist Award
  • A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 2020
  • A BuzzFeed Most-Anticipated Book of the Year
  • A Electric Lit Favorite Novel of 2020
  • A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books of 2020

“This book is astonishing. You’ll be smiling even as your heart is breaking, and you’ll tip willingly into this world Bump offers you because what appears again and again are spectacular beams of light, also called love, also called hope, also called family. Gabriel Bump has established himself as a stunning talent to be reckoned with.”
Maaza Mengiste, author of The Shadow King


Click for more detail about His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie His Only Wife

by Peace Adzo Medie
Algonquin Books (Sep 01, 2020)
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A Crazy Rich Asians for West Africa.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Elikem married me in absentia; he did not come to our wedding.”

Afi Tekple is a young seamstress in Ghana. She is smart; she is pretty; and she has been convinced by her mother to marry a man she does not know. Afi knows who he is, of course—Elikem is a wealthy businessman whose mother has chosen Afi in the hopes that she will distract him from his relationship with a woman his family claims is inappropriate. But Afi is not prepared for the shift her life takes when she is moved from her small hometown of Ho to live in Accra, Ghana’s gleaming capital, a place of wealth and sophistication where she has days of nothing to do but cook meals for a man who may or may not show up to eat them. She has agreed to this marriage in order to give her mother the financial security she desperately needs, and so she must see it through. Or maybe not?

His Only Wife is a witty, smart, and moving debut novel about a brave young woman traversing the minefield of modern life with its taboos and injustices, living in a world of men who want their wives to be beautiful, to be good cooks and mothers, to be women who respect their husbands and grant them forbearance. And in Afi, Peace Adzo Medie has created a delightfully spunky and relatable heroine who just may break all the rules.


Click for more detail about Everywhere You Don’t Belong by Gabriel Bump Everywhere You Don’t Belong

by Gabriel Bump
Algonquin Books (Feb 04, 2020)
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“This book is astonishing. You’ll be smiling even as your heart is breaking, and you’ll tip willingly into this world Bump offers you because what appears again and again are spectacular beams of light, also called love, also called hope, also called family. Gabriel Bump has established himself as a stunning talent to be reckoned with.” —Maaza Mengiste, author of The Shadow King

In this alternately witty and heartbreaking debut novel, Gabriel Bump gives us an unforgettable protagonist, Claude McKay Love. Claude isn’t dangerous or brilliant—he’s an average kid coping with abandonment, violence, riots, failed love, and societal pressures as he steers his way past the signposts of youth: childhood friendships, basketball tryouts, first love, first heartbreak, picking a college, moving away from home.

Claude just wants a place where he can fit. As a young black man born on the South Side of Chicago, he is raised by his civil rights–era grandmother, who tries to shape him into a principled actor for change; yet when riots consume his neighborhood, he hesitates to take sides, unwilling to let race define his life. He decides to escape Chicago for another place, to go to college, to find a new identity, to leave the pressure cooker of his hometown behind. But as he discovers, he cannot; there is no safe haven for a young black man in this time and place called America.

Percolating with fierceness and originality, attuned to the ironies inherent in our twenty-first-century landscape, Everywhere You Don’t Belong marks the arrival of a brilliant young talent.


Click for more detail about Ordinary Girls: A Memoir by Jaquira Diaz Ordinary Girls: A Memoir

by Jaquira Diaz
Algonquin Books (Oct 29, 2019)
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One of the Must-Read Books of 2019 According to O: The Oprah Magazine * Time * Bustle * Electric Literature * Publishers Weekly * The Millions * The Week * Good Housekeeping

"There is more life packed on each page of Ordinary Girls than some lives hold in a lifetime." —Julia Alvarez


In this searing memoir, Jaquira Déaz writes fiercely and eloquently of her challenging girlhood and triumphant coming of age.

While growing up in housing projects in Puerto Rico and Miami Beach, Déaz found herself caught between extremes. As her family split apart and her mother battled schizophrenia, she was supported by the love of her friends. As she longed for a family and home, her life was upended by violence. As she celebrated her Puerto Rican culture, she couldn’t find support for her burgeoning sexual identity. From her own struggles with depression and sexual assault to Puerto Rico’s history of colonialism, every page of Ordinary Girls vibrates with music and lyricism. Déaz writes with raw and refreshing honesty, triumphantly mapping a way out of despair toward love and hope to become her version of the girl she always wanted to be.

Reminiscent of Tara Westover’s Educated, Kiese Laymon’s Heavy, Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club, and Terese Marie Mailhot’s Heart Berries, Jaquira Déaz’s memoir provides a vivid portrait of a life lived in (and beyond) the borders of Puerto Rico and its complicated history—and reads as electrically as a novel.

Book Review

Click for more detail about The Jumbie God’s Revenge by Tracey Baptiste The Jumbie God’s Revenge

by Tracey Baptiste
Algonquin Young Readers (Sep 03, 2019)
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Thunder rumbles, lightning strikes, danger appears …

When an out-of-season hurricane sweeps through Corinne’s seaside village, Corinne knows it’s not an ordinary storm. At first Corinne believes Mama D’Leau, the powerful and cruel jumbie who rules the ocean, has caused the hurricane. Then an even more ferocious storm wrecks the island, sending villagers fleeing their houses for shelter in the mountains, and Corinne discovers the storms weren’t caused by a jumbie, but by the angry god Huracan.

Now Corinne, with the help of her friends and even some of her enemies, must race against time to find out what has angered Huracan and try to fix it before her island home is destroyed forever.

The Jumbie God’s Revenge blends Caribbean and West African tales to present powerful themes of community and heroism in a heart-pounding action adventure.


Click for more detail about The Book of Delights: Essays by Ross Gay The Book of Delights: Essays

by Ross Gay
Algonquin Books (Feb 12, 2019)
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The New York Times bestselling book of essays celebrating ordinary delights in the world around us by one of America’s most original and observant writers, award-winning poet Ross Gay.

As Heard on NPR’s This American Life

“Ross Gay’s eye lands upon wonder at every turn, bolstering my belief in the countless small miracles that surround us.” —Tracy K. Smith, Pulitzer Prize winner and U.S. Poet Laureate

The winner of the NBCC Award for Poetry offers up a spirited collection of short lyrical essays, written daily over a tumultuous year, reminding us of the purpose and pleasure of praising, extolling, and celebrating ordinary wonders.

In The Book of Delights, one of today’s most original literary voices offers up a genre-defying volume of lyric essays written over one tumultuous year. The first nonfiction book from award-winning poet Ross Gay is a record of the small joys we often overlook in our busy lives. Among Gay’s funny, poetic, philosophical delights: a friend’s unabashed use of air quotes, cradling a tomato seedling aboard an airplane, the silent nod of acknowledgment between the only two black people in a room. But Gay never dismisses the complexities, even the terrors, of living in America as a black man or the ecological and psychic violence of our consumer culture or the loss of those he loves. More than anything else, though, Gay celebrates the beauty of the natural world–his garden, the flowers peeking out of the sidewalk, the hypnotic movements of a praying mantis.

The Book of Delights is about our shared bonds, and the rewards that come from a life closely observed. These remarkable pieces serve as a powerful and necessary reminder that we can, and should, stake out a space in our lives for delight.


Click for more detail about An American Marriage: A Novel by Tayari Jones An American Marriage: A Novel

by Tayari Jones
Algonquin Books (Feb 06, 2018)
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Read Tayari’s, “Notes on “Quotes” from An American Marriage


An American Marriage is the newest Oprah’s Book Club selection!
Thank you, Oprah, for extending your hand to me and my new novel, An American Marriage. I am honored to join your book club and connect hearts and minds by raising our voices and telling our stories.”
Love,
Tayari

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward—with hope and pain—into the future.


Click for more detail about Rise of the Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste Rise of the Jumbies

by Tracey Baptiste
Algonquin Young Readers (Sep 19, 2017)
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Corinne LaMer defeated the wicked jumbie Severine months ago, but things haven’t exactly gone back to normal in her Caribbean island home. Everyone knows Corinne is half-jumbie, and many of her neighbors treat her with mistrust. When local children begin to go missing, snatched from the beach and vanishing into wells, suspicious eyes turn to Corinne.

To rescue the missing children and clear her own name, Corinne goes deep into the ocean to find Mama D’Leau, the dangerous jumbie who rules the sea. But Mama D’Leau’s help comes with a price. Corinne and her friends Dru, Bouki, and Malik must travel with mermaids across the ocean to the shores of Ghana to fetch a powerful object for Mama D’Leau. The only thing more perilous than Corinne’s adventures across the sea is the foe that waits for her back home.

With its action-packed storytelling, diverse characters, and inventive twists on Caribbean and West African mythology and fairy tales, Rise of the Jumbies will appeal to readers of A Snicker of Magic, A Tale Dark and Grimm, and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.


Click for more detail about We Love You, Charlie Freeman: A Novel by Kaitlyn Greenidge We Love You, Charlie Freeman: A Novel

by Kaitlyn Greenidge
Algonquin Books (Jan 31, 2017)
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A FINALIST FOR THE 2016 CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE AND THE 2017 YOUNG LIONS AWARD

“A terrifically auspicious debut.” —Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“Smart, timely and powerful … A rich examination of America’s treatment of race, and the ways we attempt to discuss and confront it today.” —The Huffington Post

The Freeman family—Charles, Laurel, and their daughters, teenage Charlotte and nine-year-old Callie—have been invited to the Toneybee Institute to participate in a research experiment. They will live in an apartment on campus with Charlie, a young chimp abandoned by his mother. The Freemans were selected because they know sign language; they are supposed to teach it to Charlie and welcome him as a member of their family. But when Charlotte discovers the truth about the institute’s history of questionable studies, the secrets of the past invade the present in devious ways.

The power of this shattering novel resides in Greenidge’s undeniable storytelling talents. What appears to be a story of mothers and daughters, of sisterhood put to the test, of adolescent love and grown-up misconduct, and of history’s long reach, becomes a provocative and compelling exploration of America’s failure to find a language to talk about race.

“A magnificently textured, vital, visceral feat of storytelling … [by] a sharp, poignant, extraordinary new voice of American literature.” —Téa Obreht, author of The Tiger’s Wife


Click for more detail about The Good Negress: A Novel by A.J. Verdelle The Good Negress: A Novel

by A.J. Verdelle
Algonquin Books (Nov 22, 2016)
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“Truly extraordinary.” —Toni Morrison

“Haunting … To read The Good Negress is to fall under a spell, to open a window, to fly.” ——Los Angeles Times Book Review

Twenty years after its initial publication, The Good Negress continues to be an important part of the literary canon, as relevant and necessary as ever.

The year is 1963, and young Denise Palms has rejoined her family in Detroit where she must work to make a place for herself and prepare for the arrival of her mother’s new baby. The baby will mean the end of Denise’s afterschool lessons with a stern teacher who insists that Denise learn to speak “proper” English to make herself heard. Verdelle’s intuition and ear allow her to dramatize precise moments of Denise’s self-recognition and, in the process, offer an inside look at a maturing intelligence. The Good Negress marks the arrival of an original voice in contemporary fiction.

With lyrical, evocative prose, A. J. Verdelle captures Denise’s journey from adolescence to womanhood as she navigates the tension between loyalty and independence, and between circumstance and desire. The Good Negress is an unforgettable debut—simultaneously the portrait of a family and a glimpse into an era of twentieth-century America.

Winner of the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters
Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction
A Quality Paperback Book Club Selection
Winner of the Harold D. Vursell Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters


Click for more detail about Angel’s Grace by Tracey Baptiste Angel’s Grace

by Tracey Baptiste
Algonquin Books (Apr 26, 2016)
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Grace has always had wild red hair like no one else in her family and a birthmark on her shoulder that her mother told her was the mark of an angel. When Grace is sent from New York to spend the summer with her grandmother in Trinidad, she looks through the family album and discovers a blurred photograph of a stranger with a birthmark—her birthmark—and Grace is full of questions. No one is able to identify the man in the photo, and Grace is left with no choice but to find out who he is and what he might mean to her. What Grace does not know is that her search will lead to a discovery about herself and her family that she never could have imagined.

Tracey Baptiste’s first novel is a tender coming-of-age story set on the island of Trinidad. Angel’s Grace explores the meaning of identity and truth, and the unbreakable ties of a family bound by love.


Click for more detail about The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste The Jumbies

by Tracey Baptiste
Algonquin Books (Apr 28, 2015)
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The jumbies are coming!

Corinne La Mer isn’t afraid of anything. Not scorpions, not the boys who tease her, and certainly not jumbies. She knows that jumbies aren’t real; they’re just creatures parents make up to frighten their children. But on All Hallows’ Eve, Corinne chases an agouti all the way into the forbidden woods. Those shining yellow eyes that follow her to the edge of the trees, they couldn’t belong to a jumbie. Or could they?

Corinne begins to notice odd occurrences after that night. First she spots a beautiful stranger speaking to the town witch at the market. Then this same beauty, called Severine, turns up at Corinne’s house, cooking dinner for her father. Danger is in the air. Sure enough, bewitching Corinne’s father is the first step in Severine’s plan to claim the entire island for the jumbies. Corinne must call on her courage and her friends and ancient magic to stop Severine and to save her island home.


Click for more detail about Passenger on the Pearl: The True Story of Emily Edmonson’s Flight from Slavery by Winifred Conkling Passenger on the Pearl: The True Story of Emily Edmonson’s Flight from Slavery

by Winifred Conkling
Algonquin Books (Jan 13, 2015)
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The page-turning, heart-wrenching true story of one young woman willing to risk her safety and even her life for a chance at freedom in the largest slave escape attempt in American history.

In 1848, thirteen-year-old Emily Edmonson, five of her siblings, and seventy other enslaved people boarded the Pearl under cover of night in Washington, D.C., hoping to sail north to freedom. Within a day, the schooner was captured, and the Edmonsons were sent to New Orleans to be sold into even crueler conditions. Passenger on the Pearl is the story of this thwarted escape, of the ramifications of its attempt, and of a family for whom freedom was the ultimate goal.

Through an engaging narrative, informative sidebars, and more than fifty period photographs and illustrations, Winifred Conkling takes readers on Emily Edmonson’s journey from enslaved person to teacher at a school for African American young women. Conkling illuminates a turbulent time in American history, showing the daily lives of enslaved people, the often-changing laws affecting them, the high cost of a failed escape, and the stories of slave traders and abolitionists.


Click for more detail about Furious Cool: Richard Pryor And The World That Made Him by David Henry and Joe Henry Furious Cool: Richard Pryor And The World That Made Him

by David Henry and Joe Henry
Algonquin Books (Nov 05, 2013)
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“Addictively readable … Someday, when fewer people know Richard Pryor’s name, Furious Cool will be the best defense against the worst sort of forgetting—the kind that involves who we are now, who we loved once, and why.” ?Esquire

Richard Pryor was arguably the single most influential performer of the second half of the twentieth century, and certainly he was the most successful black actor/comedian ever. Controversial and somewhat enigmatic during his life, Pryor’s performances opened up a whole new world of possibilities, merging fantasy with angry reality in a way that wasn’t just new—it was theretofore unthinkable. Now, this groundbreaking and revelatory work brings him to life again both as a man and as an artist, providing an in-depth appreciation of his talent and his lasting influence, as well as an insightful examination of the world he lived in and the myriad influences that shaped both his persona and his art.

“A testament to [Pryor’s] stature not only as an African-American entertainment idol but also as an American icon … The Henrys’ exuberant tribute may well evoke renewed interest in a performance genius who remade the face of American stand-up comedy.” ?The New York Times Book Review

“A sleek, highly literate biography that places the comic in the pop-cultural context of his times.” ?Bloomberg News

“Richard Pryor was the most free black man of the twentieth century. He also was a comic genius. This book gives the definitive reasons why he was so free and so sublime.” ?Dr. Cornel West

“David Henry and Joe Henry have brought Richard Pryor back to pulsating life, affirming both his humanity and his immortality as a comic—and tragic—genius … Furious Cool is a fabulous history, alive with fascinating characters.”
?The Huffington Post


Click for more detail about Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones Silver Sparrow

by Tayari Jones
Algonquin Books (May 08, 2012)
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With the opening line of Silver Sparrow, “My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist,” author Tayari Jones unveils a breathtaking story about a man’s deception, a family’s complicity, and the two teenage girls caught in the middle. Set in a middle-class neighborhood in Atlanta in the 1980s, the novel revolves around James Witherspoon’s two families the public one and the secret one. When the daughters from each family meet and form a friendship, only one of them knows they are sisters. It is a relationship destined to explode. This is the third stunning novel from an author deemed “one of the most important writers of her generation” (the Atlanta Journal Constitution).


Click for more detail about Purple Hibiscus: A Novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Purple Hibiscus: A Novel

by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Algonquin Books (Apr 17, 2012)
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Fifteen-year-old Kambili and her older brother Jaja lead a privileged life in Enugu, Nigeria. They live in beautiful house, with a caring family, and attend an exclusive missionary school. They’re completely shielded from the troubles of the world. Yet, as Kambili reveals in her tender-voiced account, things are less perfect than they appear. Although her Papa is generous and well respected, he is fanatically religious and tyrannical at home-a home that is silent and suffocating. As the country begins to fall apart under a military coup, Kambili and Jaja are sent to their aunt, a university professor outside the city, where they discover a life beyond the confines of their father’s authority. Books cram the shelves, curry and nutmeg permeate the air, and their cousins’ laughter rings throughout the house. When they return home, tensions within the family escalate, and Kambili must find the strength to keep her loved ones together. Purple Hibiscus is an exquisite novel about the emotional turmoil of adolescence, the powerful bonds of family, and the bright promise of freedom.


Click for more detail about Panther Baby by Jamal Joseph Panther Baby

by Jamal Joseph
Algonquin Books (Feb 07, 2012)
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In the 1960s he exhorted students at Columbia University to burn their college to the ground. Today he’s chair of their School of the Arts film division. Jamal Joseph’s personal odyssey—from the streets of Harlem to Riker’s Island and Leavenworth to the halls of Columbia—is as gripping as it is inspiring.Eddie Joseph was a high school honor student, slated to graduate early and begin college. But this was the late 1960s in Bronx’s black ghetto, and fifteen-year-old Eddie was introduced to the tenets of the Black Panther Party, which was just gaining a national foothold. By sixteen, his devotion to the cause landed him in prison on the infamous Rikers Island—charged with conspiracy as one of the Panther 21 in one of the most emblematic criminal cases of the sixties. When exonerated, Eddie—now called Jamal—became the youngest spokesperson and leader of the Panthers’ New York chapter.He joined the “revolutionary underground,” later landing back in prison. Sentenced to more than twelve years in Leavenworth, he earned three degrees there and found a new calling. He is now chair of Columbia University’s School of the Arts film division—the very school he exhorted students to burn down during one of his most famous speeches as a Panther.In raw, powerful prose, Jamal Joseph helps us understand what it meant to be a soldier inside the militant Black Panther movement. He recounts a harrowing, sometimes deadly imprisonment as he charts his path to manhood in a book filled with equal parts rage, despair, and hope.


Click for more detail about The Taste Of Salt by Martha Southgate The Taste Of Salt

by Martha Southgate
Algonquin Books (Sep 13, 2011)
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Award-winning novelist Martha Southgate (who, in the words of Julia Glass, “can write fat and hot, then lush and tender, then just plain truthful and burning with heart”) now tells the story of a family pushed to its limits by addiction over the course of two generations.

Josie Henderson loves the water and is fulfilled by her position as the only senior-level black scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. In building this impressive life for herself, she has tried to shed the one thing she cannot: her family back in landlocked Cleveland. Her adored brother, Tick, was her childhood ally as they watched their drinking father push away all the love that his wife and children were trying to give him. Now Tick himself has been coming apart and demands to be heard.

Weaving four voices into a beautiful tapestry, Southgate charts the lives of the Hendersons from the parents’ first charmed meeting to Josie’s realization that the ways of the human heart are more complex than anything seen under a microscope.


Click for more detail about Secret Son by Laila Lalami Secret Son

by Laila Lalami
Algonquin Books (Mar 09, 2010)
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Raised by his mother in a one-room house in the slums of Casablanca, Youssef El Mekki has always had big dreams of living another life in another world. Suddenly his dreams are within reach when he discovers that his father—whom he’d been led to believe was dead—is very much alive. A wealthy businessman, he seems eager to give his son a new start. Youssef leaves his mother behind to live a life of luxury, until a reversal of fortune sends him back to the streets and his childhood friends. Trapped once again by his class and painfully aware of the limitations of his prospects, he becomes easy prey for a fringe Islamic group.

In the spirit of The Inheritance of Loss and The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Laila Lalami’s debut novel looks at the struggle for identity, the need for love and family, and the desperation that grips ordinary lives in a world divided by class, politics, and religion.


Click for more detail about The Lie by O.H. Bennett The Lie

by O.H. Bennett
Algonquin Books (Jul 07, 2009)
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For Terrell Matheus, the decision to lie about his brother’s death is an immediate reaction to the panic he feels at having shot him. What he has not considered when placing the blame on a truck full of white boys are the ramifications?the near riots and the vigilante anger that threaten innocent men. Terrified to admit his guilt, he watches in dismay as schoolmates make a public display of support, and in horror as his uncle seeks vengeance. Finally, unable to live with his lie and the anger it creates in the town’s black community, he is forced to come to terms with the terrible truth and the incalculable hurt he has caused his parents, who have effectively lost both sons with a single shot.

Though he is not sent to jail, Terrell finds himself in a prison of another kind. Shunned by former friends and forced to live away from home, he finds unexpected solace in the friendship of his dead brother’s girlfriend, who stands by him as he struggles to rebuild his life.

Set in Evansville, Indiana, in the mid-1970s, The Lie is imbued with a perfect sense of time and place. It is a startling and controversial novel about family, redemption, and the price of honesty.


Click for more detail about New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best, 2007 by ZZ Packer New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best, 2007

by ZZ Packer
Algonquin Books (Aug 14, 2007)
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This year, acclaimed short-story writer ZZ Packer chooses twenty distinctive stories representing the great number of voices and narratives coming out of the South. Some of the youngest and freshest talents on the literary horizon Bret Anthony Johnston, Kevin Brockmeier, Holly Goddard Jones accompany well-known Southern stalwarts, including Pinckney Benedict, Clyde Edgerton, and Ron Rash. Their stories tell of life as it is now, a life not seen in romanticized Southern fiction, one where existence both urban and rural is as raw and risky as it is alluring. The energy of this collection courses through every one of Packer’s edgy, funny, and gritty selections.