Quintessential millennial writer Morgan Jerkins pens debut novel, ‘Caul Baby’

Quintessential millennial writer Morgan Jerkins pens debut novel, 'Caul Baby'

What is the story behind the title?

A caul is when a child is born in the amniotic sac. In African American folklore, a person who was born with a caul, with the veil, is said to have healing and protective properties. This type of folklore is often spread across many different types of literature. So, it’s very folkloric, and one of the things that I wanted to do with this book was to write about it with the center [being] Black women.

What do you want readers to take away from Caul Baby?

I thought, what would it be like to have a family of Black women who are all caul bearers. They possess the caul, and they turned these gifts into an enterprise, selling pieces of their caul, pieces of their body, to the highest bidder. Caul Baby tests the morality, or the limits of Black motherhood, and the difficult decisions with that familial obligation and survival in the midst of a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood that is Harlem.

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