‘My Monticello’ author Jocelyn Nicole Johnson to speak at Writers Read 

Date: Tuesday, March 19
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Martin Chapel
Admission: Free and open to the public

Jocelyn Nicole Johnson, author of My Monticello (2021), will read from her collection of short stories and field questions at EMU’s Writers Read program on Tuesday, March 19. 

A finalist for the prestigious Kirkus Prize for Fiction, My Monticello appeared on many “Best of” lists, including The New York Times’ “100 Notable Books of 2021” and Time’s “10 Best Fiction Books of 2021.” One of its short stories, “Control Negro,” was anthologized in The Best American Short Stories 2018, guest edited by Roxane Gay and read live by LeVar Burton. 

Its title story, “My Monticello,” is set in an apocalyptic near-future Charlottesville, Virginia, which is overrun by a white, racist militia. Da’Naisha, a young Black descendant of Sally Hemmings and Thomas Jefferson, leads her neighbors to take refuge in the historic, abandoned plantation house of her ancestors. 

In a review for The Washington Post, Anissa Gray writes that My Monticello “is, quite simply, an extraordinary debut from a gifted writer with an unflinching view of history and what may come of it.” Johnson, an alumna of James Madison University, worked as a public school art teacher for 20 years. She lives in Charlottesville as a full-time writer.

The next morning, Johnson will speak at Convocation on Wednesday, March 20, at 10:10 a.m. at Common Grounds Coffeehouse. A book signing will follow both events, which are free and open to the public.

The events are presented by EMU Language and Literature with the EMU Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

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