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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

“The Love Songs of W.E.B Du Bois” by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers Praised by National Books Critics Circle

The award-winning poet has been honored with a fiction prize for her novel.

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Looking for a new book to add to your reading list? We strongly recommend Honorée Fanonne Jeffers’ ‘The Love Songs of W.E.B Du Bois.” The National Books Critics Circle honored the novel with a fiction prize, reported the Associated Press.

Jeffer’s novel is what the New York Time’s Veronica Chambers described as “an ambitious work set with the fine china of the oeuvre of Du Bois.” The book explores racism, resilience and identity in reflection of Du Bois’ legacy, per AP News.

From AP News:

The critics circle praised Jeffers for “weaving several centuries’ worth of ‘songs’ from the ancestors into her narrative of the coming of age and young adulthood of a brilliant Atlanta scholar.” Jeffers, a professor of English at the University of Oklahoma and author of five poetry collections, was among the winners announced Thursday during a ceremony held online because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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NPR’s Denny S. Bryce described the coming of age story of the main character, Ailey, as a way to “journey back and forth through decades” connecting moments in her life back to slavery. Bryce also noted Jeffers’ skill in poetry and essay writing, recalling her collection, The Age of Phillis, had only been considered but not nominated for a National Book Award.

Jeffers took a decade to complete this novel, writing and researching.

Awards still couldn’t do justice to honor the in depth review she’s provided of African American society through a single fictional family. From HBCU culture, feminism, classism, colorism and the Civil Rights movement, Jeffers paints a picture of the Black experience. Doing so, she also provides the viewer of that experience through the lens of Du Bois and his ideologies.

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This novel is another reason why the preservation of Black literature is so crucial. Books like this help us and others better understand our history and culture.