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Winner of the 2021 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, a thought-provoking and enchanting debut about a Black woman doing whatever it takes to protect all she loves at the beginning of the civil rights movement in Alabama.
 
It’s 1957, and after leaving the only home she has ever known, Alice Young steps off the bus into the all-Black town of New Jessup, Alabama, where residents have largely rejected integration as the means for Black social advancement. Instead, they seek to maintain, and fortify, the community they cherish on their “side of the woods.” In this place, Alice falls in love with Raymond Campbell, whose clandestine organizing activities challenge New Jessup’s longstanding status quo and could lead to the young couple’s expulsion—or worse—from the home they both hold dear. But as Raymond continues to push alternatives for enhancing New Jessup’s political power, Alice must find a way to balance her undying support for his underground work with her desire to protect New Jessup from the rising pressure of upheaval from inside, and outside, their side of town.

Jamila Minnicks’s debut novel is both a celebration of Black joy and a timely examination of the opposing viewpoints that attended desegregation in America. Readers of Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half and Robert Jones, Jr.’s The Prophets will love Moonrise Over New Jessup.

"With compelling characters and a heart-pounding plot, Jamila Minnicks pulled me into pages of history I’d never turned before."  —Barbara Kingsolver 

"An immersive and timely recasting of history by a gloriously talented writer to watch. You will fall in love with New Jessup: the town and the book." 
—Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, author of The Revisioners

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Jamila Minnicks

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Review quotes
"My favorite novels light up my brain with things I hadn’t considered before – and this one does exactly that. The deep complexity of the American Civil Rights movement; the various, sometimes opposing approaches of its leaders to desegregation; the gains and inevitable casualties that social progress can claim. With compelling characters and a heart-pounding plot, Jamila Minnicks pulled me into pages of history I’d never turned before."  
—Barbara Kingsolver 

“I was awestruck by its beauty, rapt by its originality, and astounded by its depth. But what astonished me most was learning that this is a debut. The craftwork is extraordinary. Was this book dreamed into existence? Did the Ancestors themselves place this story in the writer’s mind? From page one, I knew this work would transform me. It expanded the way I imagine what is possible in the art form. More than interesting, it is integral. More than important, it is inspiring. Read this book. Cherish it. Protect it. You must. Right out of the gate, Jamila Minnicks’s Moonrise Over New Jessup is a masterpiece.” 
—Robert Jones, Jr., author of The New York Times bestselling novel, The Prophets

"An immersive and timely recasting of history by a gloriously talented writer to watch. You will fall in love with New Jessup: the town and the book." 
—Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, author of The Revisioners

 "Elegant and nuanced, Moonrise Over New Jessup is an incandescent work of art through-and-through, from a powerful new voice."
—Jason Mott, author of National Book Award winner Hell of a Book
 
Moonrise over New Jessup is a tender and beautifully written debut that shines light on the untold stories of the women who supported the foot soldiers of the bourgeoning civil rights movement. Warm and affecting, this book will draw you in with its heart.”
—Heidi W. Durrow, author of the New York Times bestseller The Girl Who Fell from the Sky
 
“No one who's read Zora Neale Hurston ever forgets her Eatonville. So too will Jamila Minnicks’s New Jessup live on in the American imagination as both a place and an idea. Moonrise Over New Jessup is a staggeringly beautiful love letter to Blackness -- particularly southern Blackness -- that celebrates the joys, sadness, and multiplicity of existence outside the white gaze. An absolute triumph, Moonrise Over New Jessup confirms a major voice in Jamila Minnicks, a writer everyone should be watching.”
—Dionne Irving, author of The Islands


 
Product Details
Categories
Number of pages
336
Publication date
January 10, 2023
ISBN
9781643752464