Poet and author Honorée Fanonne Jeffers is known for penning five poetry collections, including the 2020 collection The Age of Phillis, for which she won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry.
Jeffers, who currently teaches creative writing and literature at University of Oklahoma was not inititally known for being an author. Based on a dream from her ancestors over ten years ago, Jeffers began writing her debut fiction novel The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois.
Jeffers chronicles the journey of one American family through centuries — Ailey Pearl Garfield, the youngest daughter of Geoff Garfield, a light-skinned Washington, D.C., physician, and Belle Driskell Garfield, a Southern school teacher — as she comes to terms with ancestral trauma while growing up in the 1980s and ’90s. Throughout historical sketches in each chapter (or “songs”), Jeffers links the main character, Ailey to her ancestors: Creeks Indians, enslaved Africans, and early Scot slave owners. Rolling out was able to sit down with author Honorée Jeffers to talk about her new novel.
Be sure to check out Jeffers full discussion about The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois on rolling out’s Meet the Author.
What is the backstory of the title The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois?