Photo courtesy of Paul Sirochman
According to the extensive archival and DNA research of historian Catherine Kerrison, Thomas Jefferson had three daughters who lived into adulthood: Martha Jefferson Randolph (b. 1772), Mary “Maria” Jefferson Eppes (b. 1778), and Harriet Hemings (b. 1801).
Were we to time travel to the early 1800s and ask Jefferson directly, he almost certainly would have claimed two.
“He never in his lifetime publicly acknowledged the shadow family he had with Sally Hemings,” says Kerrison, speaking from Pennsylvania, where she ...
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In conversation with Neel Mukherjee, one thing is soon laid plain: his most famous quotation, “Fiction can either be a mirror reflecting you back to yourself or it can be a clean pane of glass looking on the outside,” is not a value-neutral statement.
“There are two different kinds of readers, as well as two different kinds of writers—I have mentioned this before,” Mukherjee says by phone from London. “I’m the latter category of writer, not the autofiction ...
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Romance novelist Sonali Dev writes exhilarating, thought-provoking “books with a Bollywood beat”—ones our critics routinely reward with starred reviews and spots on our “Best Books” year-end lists.
“Another beautiful, breathtaking novel from a not-to-be-missed author,” Kirkus writes of her latest, A Distant Heart, a sexy page-turner set in a suburb of Mumbai. Chronicling the romance between Kimi Patil and Rahul Savant, who’ve run afoul of a fearsome mobster, A Distant Heart explores dichotomies of freedom and captivity, bravery and ...
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When Amnesty International solicited short stories for an anthology on government and identity, M.T. Anderson’s submission stuck out like a sore thumb.
“They were thinking more about identity in terms of surveillance,” says Anderson, who’d recently returned from Russia while researching Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad. “I was thinking about the intersection of identity, colonization, and art.”
Anderson is the author of more than a dozen wide-ranging titles ...
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Readers of all ages, get ready to catch a rising star. David Barclay Moore’s electric debut, The Stars Beneath Our Feet, is a middle-grade must-read as vibrant and variant as the thrumming thoroughfare where it unfolds: Harlem’s 125th Street.
“If Harlem was a human body, then 125th would be its pumping heart, throbbing all the time,” writes Moore, who grew up in suburban Missouri and moved to Harlem in adulthood. There, he taught English and language arts, worked as ...
We talk to the creators of Hey Black Child
“Hey Black Child” by Useni Eugene Perkins is a rhythmic poem with a remarkable history.
Written as the capstone to Black Fairy, a play about the empowerment of a young black boy, it’s been recited by students as a morning pledge and misattributed to Maya Angelou and Countee Cullen.
In 2015, “Hey Black Child” went viral when precocious preschooler Pe’Tehn Raighn-Ken Jackson recited it on ABC Chicago’s Windy City LIVE and NBC’s Little Big Shots.
“When Little, Brown and ...
The picture book Blue Sky White Stars gives new life to Old Glory
To really earn her stripes as a picture book author, Sarvinder Naberhaus submitted several manuscripts, including Blue Sky White Stars, a book inspired by the American flag. She never imagined a superstar would agree to illustrate it.
“I didn’t have any idea that Kadir Nelson would illustrate my book!” says Naberhaus, a former elementary schoolteacher and media librarian whose previous books are Boom Boom,illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine, and Lines,illustrated by Melinda Beck. She describes the experience of ...
Photo courtesy Ryane Rice
Gin Phillips had no intention of writing summer’s most scintillating literary thriller.
“I wanted to write a book about motherhood,” Phillips says of Fierce Kingdom, the story of a mother and four-year-old son trapped in their local zoo by an active shooter event.
“I was aware it was a faster plot than I normally focus on,” she says, “and I loved the idea of having to tell a story within such tight confines, where there’s literally geographic walls ...