Join us for a wonderful conversation between Kim Coleman Foote, author of Coleman Hill: A Novel and former PEA Bennett Fellow, and Courtney Sender, author of In Other Lifetimes All I've Lost Comes Back to Me, on Thursday, September 28th at 7pm!
Coleman Hill is the exhilarating story of two American families whose fates become intertwined in the wake of the Great Migration. Braiding fact and fiction, it is a remarkable, character-rich tour de force exploring the ties that bind three generations.
In 1916, during the early days of the Great Migration, Celia Coleman and Lucy Grimes flee the racism and poverty of their homes in the post-Civil War South for the "Promised Land" of Vauxhall, New Jersey. But the North possesses its own challenges and bigotries that will shape the fates of the women and their families over the next seventy years. Told through the voices of nine family members--their perspectives at once harmonious and contradictory-- Coleman Hill is a penetrating multigenerational debut.
Within ten years of arriving in Vauxhall, both Celia and Lucy's husbands are dead, and they turn to one another for support in raising their children far from home. Lucy's gentleness sets Celia at ease, and Celia lends Lucy her fire when her friend wants to cower. Encouraged by their mothers' friendship, their children's lives become enmeshed as well. As the children grow into adolescence, two are caught in an impulsive act of impropriety, and Celia and Lucy find themselves at irreconcilable odds over who's to blame. The ensuing fallout has dire consequences that reverberate through the next two generations of their families.
A stunning biomythography--a word coined by the late great writer Audre Lorde-- Coleman Hill draws from the author's own family legend, historical record, and fervent imagination to create an unforgettable new history. The result is a kaleidoscopic novel whose intergenerational arc emerges through a series of miniatures that contain worlds.
Praise for Coleman Hill:
"Coleman Hill is a masterpiece. Brilliant, vivid, heartbreaking, epic, beautiful, raw and true; a reading experience unlike anything else. This is the American story." --Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Less Is Lost
"Once in a while, a writer comes along with a brilliance that stops the breath. Kim Coleman Foote is that writer." --Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award-winning author of Red at the Bone
"Striking. . . . A chorus of nine voices narrates this richly layered multigenerational tale. . . . [A] memorable saga that graciously captures the baton of African American family fiction from Ralph Ellison and Alex Haley." --Booklist
Kim Coleman Foote was born and raised in New Jersey, where she started writing fiction at the age of seven(ish). A recent fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, she has received additional fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, Bread Loaf, Phillips Exeter Academy, Center for Fiction, and Fulbright, and residencies at Yaddo, MacDowell, and Hedgebrook, among others. Her fiction and essays have appeared in The Best American Short Stories 2022, The Rumpus, Prairie Schooner, the Missouri Review, the Literary Review, Kweli, and Obsidian.
Courtney Sender's writing has appeared in the New York Times' Modern Love, the Atlantic, the Kenyon Review, American Short Fiction, and Tin House, among others. A MacDowell and Yaddo fellow, she holds an MFA from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars and an MTS from Harvard Divinity School. Her first book is a short story collection titled In Other Lifetimes All I've Lost Comes Back to Me. She currently lives in the Boston area.