Redeployment: A Surprising Underdog

Adie’s got a nose for winners, ladies and gentlemen! Redeployment just won the National Book Award! 

The National Book Award for fiction (as well as the other genres) will be announced this Wednesday, and the list of contenders is, as it is every year, a compilation of some of this year’s finest releases.

This year’s list is a fruit salad of books. Blockbuster Marilynne Robinson’s Lila. Overlooked until now, Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven. Anthony Doer’s World War II novel, All the Light We Cannot See. Lebanese-American Rabih Alameddine’s quiet but unboring An Unnecessary Woman. And Phil Klay’s debut collection of short stories, Redeployment.

f_klay_redeployment_fThe real surprise here is Redeployment. As we head into another year of war in the Middle East, American soldiers once again returning to Iraq, this is a war we would like to see behind us. Give us stories of soldiers returning home. Of lives rebuilt from the wreckage of war. Of battlefields grown over. Of anything except IEDs and terrorist cells and soldiers crippled with PTSD. But Klay writes about the Second Gulf War in a way I have never read about it before.

Each of the 12 stories drowns the reader in a different facet of contemporary warfare–the chaplain sent to minister to marines, a state department worker establishing a water treatment facility for Sunni and Shiite, a veteran on the GI bill, a soldier in charge of collection remains.

Reading Redeployment, I was pleasantly surprised by the subtle power Phil Klay displays. Many of the stories walk the line between comedy and tragedy. His adherence to his characters is a force to be reckoned with.


Written by Adie

Tap In.

Working at a bookstore has unfortunate side effects.  One of the prerequisites for working at Lemuria is being a fairly regular reader.  We encourage all of our employees to read, and read often.  The basis of being a good bookseller is reading and being able to accurately (and honestly) convey your experience with customers looking for the next best thing.  For me, this means prioritizing my time for only the best books.

Therein lies the unfortunate side effect.

You see, you can never truly appreciate the sun without rain.  So, objectively, can we place one above the other?  The sun and rain both provide pros and cons.  Objectivity is almost impossible when choosing why we like one more than the other.  Adam Sternbergh has cooked up a torrential downpour with his hard boiled mystery series.

Earlier this year Random House sent the us a huge batch of Advance Reading Copies.  These special edition books are printed for the sole purpose of spreading the good news about upcoming releases.  I like to site down with a few crates and start dividing the books in keep and toss piles respectively.  Shovel Ready had a hilariously bad title and an even worse cover.  I threw it in the keep pile.  Shovel Ready is the first in a new mystery series that follows Spademan.

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He’s a garbage man.  Not the kind of garbage man that takes out the trash.  He’s the kind that takes out the trash.

Spademan considers himself a bullet.  Just point, pull, bang.  Only one rule:  no kids.  All he needs is a name, he’ll take care of the rest.  Point, pull, bang.  Except he doesn’t use guns.  He uses a box cutter; it gets the job done. The book starts up with Spademan receiving a call with his latest hit and he sets off the do what he does best;  only he doesn’t because its a kid.

Shovel Ready takes place in a dystopian New York recovering from a nuclear terrorist attack on Times Square.  The city has been all but abandoned by the rest of the country leaving a great divide between the city’s elite and the poor.  Just before the attack an alternate reality is constructed for the people that can afford it called the limnosphere.  The limn allows for a user to fulfill visor her wildest fantasies.  After the bombing, Spademan sinks into the limn to escape the world around.

Now, I’d like to pause for a moment to say that all of this is ridiculous.  If it sounds that way, it’s because it is.  It’s ridiculous and I love it.

After a trail of bodies, the book wraps up quite nicely and ties up all the plot points in under 300 pages.  Almost.

I had absolutely no idea a sequel was coming out until 2 days ago.  I immediately stopped all of my books in progress and settled in for another wild ride through the disjointed and frequently inconsistent world of Near Enemy.

Jacket (20)Near Enemy picks up a year after Shovel Ready.  Spademan gets a call, and gets to work. …then he doesn’t.  Again.  Near Enemy’s narrative genesis is identical to Shovel Ready, and I have no idea how Adam Sternbergh got away with this.  It contradicts everything that Spademan is supposed to be.  In the first book  Spademan doesn’t kill his target because she’s a kid, but in this book, he just doesn’t do his job.  I’m expected to just go with it.

And I do.

These books are the perfect palate cleansers.  After reading book after book, classic after classic, it’s nice to just sit back and enjoy the ride.  I can’t be objective about this series because I know the only reason I’m reading them is because how fun they are.  Things rarely make sense, characters are unpredictable, everything is convenient, and I don’t care.

Like the characters I’m happy to leave the dark, dense literary world behind and tap-in to the world that Adam Sternbergh has created for me.  His limnosphere of happenstance.

Shovel Ready is available now in paperback.


Written by Andre

Let’s Talk Jackson: Coming Home

People often talk about all the places you can go with a book. LeVar Burton assured me on Reading Rainbow that, partnering with a book, my imagination is unstoppable, and I can travel anywhere in time or space. I can empathize with others and learn what it’s like to be a pauper, a king, or that person next door I just didn’t quite get before.

Everyone should travel through books, with books, and to places where you can’t even take books, then write about it. But as I’ve traveled around the world and moved within the US, my yearning for settledness, or a sense of home, has intensified.

Feeling a hunger for community, identity, and home, I became engrossed in literature of displacement, particularly Irish literature. Home preoccupies many Irish writers, who have been scattered from their close-knit island across the planet, left to make sense of their identity without the help of the familiar. This struggle obviously isn’t unique to the Irish, though. Today, according to the UNHCR, over 51 million people are forcibly displaced from their homes, and millions more are unsure where to call home for other reasons. Displaced or not, we feel the longing for home, the need for settledness that we may not find even in familiar surroundings.

As I leaf through the pages of the Jackson book, each image helps me piece together my home. I didn’t grow up in Jackson, but in many ways I’m finding myself here. The memories I have of each image join with the collective memories of my neighbors and others across the city, helping me know and love this place better.

When I see photographs of the Eudora Welty Commons, memories of wedding receptions I’ve attended there come back to help me piece together what was. Friends who now live across the Atlantic are suddenly back with me on that page to re-celebrate their special day and remember distant community.

On another page, I visit the Elite Restaurant, where my family used to regularly dine before attending a ballet, theater, or musical performance at Thalia Mara Hall. The cozy booths reassemble memories of good conversations, delicious food, and feelings of anticipation in this historic Jackson landmark.

This is why I can’t recommend the Jackson book enough—for long-time Jacksonians and those tasting their first sip of sweet tea, for brides and grooms starting their first home together here, and for Jackson ex-pats who need a tangible way to reconstruct home wherever in the world they find themselves.

No, you can’t really buy home in book form. But you can re-remember it, putting splintered fragments back together in your mind. And Jackson helps make home whole again.


Written by Marianna 


Jackson: photographs by Ken Murphy is available now for purchase. To order a copy, call Lemuria Books at 601.366.7619 or visit us online at 

If I Ever Get to Read Again

At the moment, it seems the only spines of books I’ve been cracking involve how to use the direct or indirect method in chemistry, or how the respiration cycle works best with glucose instead of pyruvate. Let’s just say I miss reading for fun. Sadly, I doubt such a thing will happen before my Christmas break.

To ease the pain of my reading rut, I’ve started to form a list of what I plan to read the moment I get a break from the demands of college life. One involves short stories, the other novels, and the third is a collection of both but for a younger audience. As this will be a three-part blog, here is the first section, in no particular order, of short stories.

Part One

Short Stories:

  1. A Guide to Being Born, by Ramona Ausubel

This collection of short stories was recommended to me by my friend/coworker, Kelly. So far I’ve read the first story in this collection. Let’s just say it’s weird, like, really weird, but that kind of weird that’s incredibly wonderful and makes you wish you’re existence involved more weirdness. Does that make sense? (Oh well, if it doesn’t, then maybe you’re not weird enough. Ever think of that?)

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  1. The Color Master, by Aimee Bender

I can’t remember what made me grab this book in the first place (although, I believe it had a lot to do with the attention other Lemurians were giving it when it first came out), but I’ve been dying to try this author out for some time now. I mean it, as I write this sentence now, I can see her book on my desk––it looks so pretty. And while her other collection, Willful Creatures, didn’t necessarily make its way into my dorm room as of yet, you can bet I plan to read it just as much.

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  1. The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis, by Lydia Davis

I started reading this collection last year at the beginning of my freshman year, and continue to pick it up from time to time. (Personally, I pair this collection with Damien Rice’s album, O.) I’m a fan. You can also ask Adie, she has some mad love for this author.

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  1. St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, by Karen Russell

UGH. It practically kills me how long this book has been on my to-read list. I feel like barely a day goes by when someone isn’t telling how wonderful Karen Russell is, specifically this book. I want to be able to say these things too!

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  1. Coast of Chicago, by Stuart Dybek

I’ve read the first three works in this collection, and can already tell that this book is definitely worth reading the whole way through, not that it necessarily needs to be read in any certain order. I feel confident in this recommendation. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to finish it before the New Year.

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  1. The Elephant Vanishes, by Haruki Murakami

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that part of the reason as to why I picked this book up in the first place didn’t involve the title or the cover. (Like you don’t judge a book by its cover?) But I don’t think I could ever go wrong with this author, I haven’t met a Lemurian yet who doesn’t like him.

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  1. My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales, by Kate Bernheimer

I LOVE fairy tales, so imagine my excitement when I found this little gem in our anthology section. Aimee Bender? Neil Gaiman? Kelly Link? I believe it was Oliver Twist who said, “Please, sir, I want some more?”

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  1. Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov, by Anton Chekhov

I decided last year during my creative fiction class that I would like to read more Anton Chekhov than the one short story we were assigned. Don’t you also feel your life needs more Russian authors? I know mine certainly does.

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Written by Elizabeth 




Casebook by Mona Simpson

Being on facebook has at least one very good advantage. My friend from high school Becky H. Parrish is a recently retired art professor at the University of Texas at El Paso; she is a fantastic artist, an outspoken Democrat, and a bibliophile. When she posts on facebook about books she has read, I usually find them at Lemuria and read them, too. A few weeks ago, she posted that she was enjoying a day outside, under an umbrella, reading a great book that made her laugh and cry; and what’s more… it is fantastic. It’s Mona Simpson’s new creation Casebook.

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A teenage boy named Miles and his friend Hector jerryrig a listening device in the basement that somehow (don’t ask me how) picks up the conversations on the upstairs phone. In the meantime, his parent’s marriage is quietly falling apart, a fact that wouldn’t be apparent if it weren’t for that piece of detective equipment in the basement. Miles has two sisters, younger twins he affectionately calls the Boops. As a matter of fact, there’s a lot of affection in this book even though marriages are dissolving and people are moving to new neighborhoods to live on divided goods once shared by the intact families.

The two self-proclaimed detective friends Miles and Hector start to notice new phone calls and grow suspicious enough to engage the services of a private detective who lives far enough away for them to jump on their bikes and cycle over. Of course, there’s the matter of money and how to pay when they are just in middle school. How they do this is part of the fun and pathos of the gentle story which, like the art professor from UTEP says, will make you laugh and cry in this well crafted book seen through the eyes of a boy coming of age in California.


Written by Pat


Let’s Talk Jackson: How Jackson became my buddy

The year was 1999. I was just seven years old, and the world was my oyster; or so I’m told. Maturity hasn’t been helpful in decoding that saying. It was early, and I was awake. But oddly enough, that was ok, because that day was going to be special. A day to be remembered in the annals of childhood experience. A day where imagination was my text book. That’s right people; I’m talkin ’bout field trip day.

As per my usual habits, I had neglected to ask any questions about the day or come at all prepared. Turns out, it was a choir field trip, which was good news to me. Choir day meant we ate fast food,  and not those peasant sack lunches. Not necessarily pertinent to this story, but a definitive milestone in my life nonetheless is the fact that I enjoyed my first Chic-fil-a sandwich that day. Hold the pickles. So I boarded the bloated yellow caravan to my musical destination. The usual trip activities transpired. Paper throwing. Book reading. Singing. Underground Pokémon tournaments. (Pokémon was strictly forbade at my school.)  Then, “Whoa, look!” I was seven years old, so look wasn’t as much a suggestion as it was a command, and my adolescent head rose automatically and stared out in the direction the looker had indicated. Glittering shapes danced before me like fire. Presumably buildings, their silhouette had been blurred by the radiance of the sun. What the heck was this place? So I asked. “Mrs. Adams, what is,” hand pointed out “that?”

LamarGargoyles_DSC5936_CMYK“That’s Jackson you little dummy. Why don’t you ever read the handouts?” Oh. So this was Jacks– wait a minute. Jackson? That place on the news where people went to get shot and/or robbed. This was that? And thus two important thoughts arose in my mind. “What if the tv doesn’t always tell the whole truth?”, and “Maybe there’s more to this Jackson thing than most folk know about.” As the day progressed, and then days after that, my second thought was affirmed. I had seen the place, walked the downtown streets. Met the people. And for the first time in my life, I knew something my parents didn’t. – Jackson was cool.




It’s been a while since my more formative years, and I have come to understand the apprehensions expressed by non Jacksonians about the city. It does have its fair share of problems. But you should know, this city hasn’t fallen to hell. In fact it’s on the rise, with plenty to do and plenty of great people to enjoy. Art. Food. Entertainment. All here. So I challenge you, reader, if you haven’t in a while, come check out the city. It’s better than you remember it.

Written by Joey 


Jackson: photographs by Ken Murphy is available now for purchase. To order a copy, call Lemuria Books at 601.366.7619 or visit us online at 

Robert St. John’s children’s book debut!

This article was originally published in the Clarion-Ledger on Sunday, November 9.  

Robert St. John may be a familiar household name in Mississippi as a writer of cookbooks, a chef, and a restaurateur. Now, “children’s book author” can be added to that list with his debut book for young kids, Fred the Red Frog. Robert collaborated with his artist mother, Dinny St. John, who created the illustrations for the book. A rhyming tale of a red frog that gets up to no good in a grocery store, Fred will be sure to delight families.

In this interview, the St. Johns tell about their creative process, the inspiration behind Fred, and telling stories to children.

Robert St. John will be signing Fred the Red Frog at Lemuria 5 p.m. on Thursday, November 13.


Where did the idea for Fred the Red Frog come from? Tell me a little bit about the book.

Robert: When my children were young, my wife was in charge of putting the kids to bed most nights. She always read them stories from various children’s books. When I put them to bed, I told stories. Most of the stories were centered on a frog named Fred that lived by the back steps of my boyhood home.

In these stories that I told to my kids, Fred and a boy named Bobby went on wonderfully fun misadventures. The kids loved them and requested the Fred stories over the books we already had on the shelves.

One day I sat down and put one to rhyme. That is the story that made it into this book.

How did you decide that your mother would illustrate this book?

Robert: I love collaborating with people, whether it’s in business or creative pursuits. The greatest joys of my professional career have been the three books I co-authored with Wyatt Waters. Marshall Ramsey and I collaborated on a book several years ago and we had fun doing that.

My mom taught art for 50 years. She just retired this year at the ripe, young age of 81. I had a blast collaborating with her and am looking forward to the book tour as we travel around the state to different schools, kindergartens, and daycare centers.

What medium did you use to illustrate this book? Tell us a little about your involvement in the book.

Dinny: I used Prismacolor Coloring Pencil to create each illustration.

Robert brought me what he had written and asked me if I would do the illustrations. It took a while to do it! I remember our first test run. Robert let Holleman, my granddaughter, show the book at the school library for show-and-tell after the illustrations were painted. Robert read the book as Holleman showed off the photos, and her class loved it. They all wanted a copy.

Out of the many characters you illustrated in this book, who was your favorite character to draw?

Dinny: Fred has to be my favorite character because he has so many different poses that bring the book to life. Drawing Fred (the frog) really allowed me to get to know him.

You are a retired art teacher. How long did you teach, and what do you hope this book accomplishes?

Dinny: I have taught art for 46 years since 1968 at a number of places, including Hattiesburg Public Schools, Presbyterian Christian School in Hattiesburg, William Carey University, and The University of Southern Mississippi.

I hope that children really enjoy the book, as the story is different and interesting. I think that children who read it or have it read to them will enjoy the story of Fred the Red Frog.

Hopefully Fred doesn’t become frog-legs. Would you say your love of food is hilariously transformed into Fred’s adventures at the D&F grocery store?

Robert: Well, the grocery store in the book is based on a store owned by my lifelong friend, Forrest Roberts and his father, Doc. When I was a kid it was an A&P. Today it is a Corner Market. In the book it is named D & F for Doc and Forrest.

No frogs were harmed in the writing of this book!

What is your favorite children’s book?

Robert: I was a huge fan of Dr. Seuss when I was a boy. My maternal grandfather was also a great storyteller. I used the stories he told me as inspiration for the stories I told my own children.

Dinny: When I was a child my favorite children’s book and story was Peter Pan. Now, my favorite children’s book is Fred the Red Frog by Robert St. John!

Let’s Talk Jackson Guest Post: The best days are ahead

Written by Paul Bonds, owner of Beanfruit Coffee Company 


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “What made you get into coffee in Mississippi–specifically Jackson?” When you think about it, Jackson doesn’t meet the typical market criteria for specialty coffee. It’s not cold and rainy, it’s pretty conservative, and doesn’t have a major university in the vicinity. So why did I begin BeanFruit Coffee Company here and not some other city?

When I was kid, I used to love the show In the Heat of the Night, a drama/mystery television series that was based in the small fictional town of Sparta, Mississippi. Most of the cases that occurred on the show were solved in the fictional town. However, when the cases got too complex, they would travel to Jackson to get a higher authority involved to solve the case. Jackson was considered the “big city” on the show, and because I grew up in a small town in Mississippi like Sparta, I could totally relate. I’ll never forget the first time I traveled to Jackson as a child. I was fascinated by the big buildings, shopping malls, colleges, etc. Growing up in the tiny “one-horse town” I’m from made downtown Jackson seem like Times Square. The potential of what could happen here just got me excited. I firmly believe that excitement still exists. I also think it’s great to be a part of all the things that are starting to happen here.

Great local restaurants like Parlor MarketLa Finestra, and Walkers, just to name a few, are paving the way for Jackson’s high-quality cuisine scene. Who would have thought that a single coffee shop in Fondren would one day lead to a coffee roasting operation with 10 plus cafés all over Mississippi? Cups: An Espresso Café did it, and they started in Jackson over 20 years ago. All of those factors and so many other examples give me hope for this area’s future. Sure, I know Jackson isn’t without its problems but I truly believe this city’s best days are ahead, not behind.

Claudia Gray on her new YA book, “A Thousand Pieces of You”


unnamed (1)Claudia Gray is a young adult author originally from Mississippi. Author of the Evernight Series and Spellcaster Series, she wraps up her whirlwind tour in the Philippines, where she was kind enough to answer these questions about her first book from the Firebird Series, entitled, A Thousand Pieces of You. Gray speaks about her influences, favorite books, and gives us a taste of her newest novel, available at Lemuria on November 4.


First of all, describe where you are from, where you live now, and how it influences your writing.

I’m from Marks, Mississippi—from Jackson, that’s about two-and-a-half hours north on I-55, then another 25 minutes west on Highway 6. These days I live in New Orleans, and I couldn’t ask to be in a more creative, original, or stimulating place.


You describe this book as Orphan Black meets Cloud Atlas in the first book of this epic dimension-bending trilogy about a girl who must chase her father’s killer through multiple dimensions. Describe the inspiration behind A Thousand Pieces of You.

The inspiration came to me while I was on a book tour, actually. Dan Wells, Lauren Oliver, and I went on a group tour of the United States together, and it was one of those tours that crisscrosses the country daily—mountains, then desert, Pacific Northwest, Miami, etc. After that, I left directly from Los Angeles to tour in Australia, where I went all over, accompanied only by my publicist. So the people traveling with me on each tour were my only constants in a rapidly shifting landscape. At some point, I began thinking about a story that would involve different worlds, but always the same people—and somehow the rest fell together.

In A Thousand Pieces of You, when Marguerite leaps into a new dimension, she leaps into another version of herself—another person she might have been. Sometimes the other dimensions are very similar to her own, but sometimes they’re radically different. She has to figure out immediately what this world is like, and who she is there. As the same people are often drawn together in many dimensions, Marguerite also encounters alternate versions of those she loves the most. I think we all wonder how much of our identity is essential and eternal, and how much is shaped by circumstance or chance. Would you be different if you’d grown up someplace else, in a time of war versus a time of peace, in a larger family, without your family? Marguerite actually gets to discover the answers.

There are parallels between your book and Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time. Both books have feisty heroines who travel through different dimensions in space, and both girls are trying to rescue or avenge their father from evil. Was L’Engle’s book influential? 

Definitely. A Wrinkle In Time was a childhood favorite of mine, and the fact that both heroines have brilliant, eccentric scientist parents is no doubt linked. They’re not very similar past that—but I’m glad my love for L’Engle’s book shines through. It’s a story so wrapped up in the love of science and the infinite possibilities it offers.

Is dimension-travel the same as time-travel? If you move to another dimension, are you also traveling through time AND space? Maybe this is a question for Marguerite’s parents, the physicists.

No, it’s not the same. Technically, I don’t think it’s even traveling through space; your body remains in the dimension you left, albeit no longer observable. Your consciousness is the only thing that moves. At any rate, every place Marguerite goes, it’s the same year, month, day, and hour. However, not every dimension has developed at the exact same rate ours has. Marguerite visits some universes where technology has developed faster (making them feel futuristic) or slower (making them feel historical), but it’s not actual time travel.

(Undoubtedly Marguerite’s parents will get around to time travel next.)

Why did you make Marguerite an artist? She could have also been a scientific genius, like her parents, but I think making her an artist creates a nice counterpart to the scientists in the book.

In all honesty, the book is easier for me to write and easier for others to read if Marguerite isn’t a scientist; if she were, there would be pages and pages of math about parallel dimensions/quantum realities. Nobody wants that! Since Marguerite is an artist, she doesn’t dwell on the technical minutiae, and the story can move forward. That being said, it wound up being an interesting character element to play with. Marguerite is bright and creative, but tends to underestimate herself because she’s surrounded by people who represent a very different kind of intelligence and accomplishment. Since she has this very different perspective, she’s able to pick up on elements of what’s going on that the scientists missed…

When did you start writing?

I always wrote, even back when I was writing with crayons. But I didn’t get serious about pursuing publication until about ten years ago.

Favorite book when you were a child:

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. No villain is as evil as Miss Minchin.

Your top 5 authors:

Oh, this question is so impossible to answer! If you’re an avid reader—and I am—that’s kind of like being asked, “So, what is the best oxygen you ever breathed in?” So much of it is so vital. But I can break it down like this: The authors who have impressed me the most would be A.S. Byatt and Vladimir Nabokov. The authors who I would most like to emulate would be J. K. Rowling and Suzanne Collins. The authors I’ve been most moved by would be Margaret Atwood and C.S. Lewis. The authors I’ve been most entertained by would be Robertson Davies, Jacqueline Winspear, P.G. Wodehouse, Margaret Mitchell, and Robert Graves.

If you could be a character from a book, who would you be?

Hermione Granger, I think!

Favorite line from a book:

From “The Color Purple”, after Mister tells Celie she’ll walk out on him over his dead body: “It’s time to leave you and enter into the creation. And your dead body just the welcome mat I need.”



Song of My Life

Originally published in the Clarion-Ledger on Sunday, November 2,2014.

aharrison42Poet Nikki Giovianni described her good friend Margaret Walker as “the most famous person nobody knows.” While known for her signature poem “For My People,” her novel Jubilee was the first modern novel on slavery.

Walker’s parents were both teachers and always encouraged her to do well in school as they moved from Birmingham to Meridian to New Orleans. By the Great Depression, Walker had finished college at Northwestern and was working for the WPA Writer’s Project with Richard Wright in Chicago. Her collection of poems, For My People, was published in 1942 by Yale Press and she became the first black woman to be awarded Yale Younger Poets Prize. Her literary reputation was established.

Despite this literary success, Walker had an even greater and perhaps an even more personal ambition: to write a novel based on the life of her grandmother. Jubilee was a thirty-year labor of love for Walker. The novel was to span slavery, civil war and reconstruction. She immersed herself in historical records and slave narratives, collected the stories of her family and visited old home sites while juggling the responsibilities of teaching and raising a family with four children. Sadly, Walker’s grandmother died before the Jubilee was published in 1966.

unnamed (3)Jubilee is significant because until the 1960s black historical fiction had hardly been attempted by black writers. Jubilee was the first novel to be written by a black writer from slavery to reconstruction from the daily perspective of the black population. That Walker took 30 years to research it from a historical perspective while maintaining the heart of the story gleaned from her grandmother’s stories is no surprise. Scholars have credited Walker with paving the way for other black historical novels like Ernest Gaines’s The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and Toni Morrison’s Beloved.

Margaret Walker devoted her life to teaching and her community at Jackson State University for thirty years before retiring in 1980. As Walker was involved in her community, many may cherish signed copies of her work. For collectors, first editions of Jubilee can be found at a reasonable price though signed copies are scarce.

Learn more about Margaret Walker November, 5 at 5:00 at Lemuria Books as Carolyn Brown signs her new biography on Walker. Also, stay tuned—the Margaret Walker Center will celebrate Walker’s Centennial in 2015.

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Written by Lisa