Each year the National Book Foundation celebrates literary standouts with National Book Awards and its list of most promising debut novelists. This year two incredible Black women writers have been honored.
Yaa Gyasi was chosen by Ta-Nehisi Coates for her novel Homegoing. The work begins at the advent of the Slave trade in Ghana and follows the lineages of two half-sisters. One is enslaved and the other marries a British slaveholder. Gyasi began working on the book while she was still in college at Stanford University.
Brit Bennett was selected Jacqueline Woodson for The Mothers.
It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother's recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor's son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it's not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.