Honorée Fanonne Jeffers is a poet, essayist, and novelist. She’s the author of five critically acclaimed books of poetry. Her first novel (and sixth book), The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois, is forthcoming from Harper on August 24, 2021.
Through the perspective of one young, Black girl, Ailey Pearl Garfield, Love Songs tells the stories of several generations of Ailey’s family in central Georgia, from the Removal of Indigenous people(s) to the enslavement and freedom of African Americans, and through to our present, fractious day. Love Songs has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and BookList. In addition, Love Songs has received positive mentions in Atlanta Journal Constitution, Essence, The New York Times, Observer, and was named an “anticipated” book by Ms. and GoodReads—and BookPage has called Honorée “a writer to watch.”
Honorée’s latest book of poetry, The Age of Phillis, is based upon fifteen years of research on the life and times of Phillis Wheatley Peters, a formerly enslaved person who was the first African American woman to publish a book. The Age of Phillis won the 2021 NAACP Image Award for Literary Work: Poetry, was long-listed for the 2020 National Book Award in Poetry, was a finalist for both the 2021 PEN/Volcker Award and the 2021 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry, and The Age of Phillis was chosen as the “common read” for the scholarly conference, Society of Early Americanists for the academic year of 2020-2021.
Honorée has won fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society, the Aspen Summer Words Conference, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the MacDowell Colony, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Witter Bynner Foundation through the Library of Congress. In consideration of Honorée’s scholarly research on Phillis Wheatley Peters, she was elected to the American Antiquarian Society, a learned organization to which fourteen U.S. Presidents have been elected. She has won the 2018 Harper Lee Award for Literary Distinction, and in 2020, she was inducted into the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame; both notations recognize lifetime achievement.
Honorée is Professor of English at University of Oklahoma in Norman, where she has taught since 2002.