See why these two debut authors have captured the attention of legends like Roxane Gay! Jocelyn's upcoming collection is getting a ton of love and she'll be talking with Dantiel W Moniz.
About the Book: My Monticello is a formidable book that bears witness to this country’s conflicted legacies and announces the arrival of a wildly original new voice in American fiction. The world is a tilted and unsafe place in Johnson's stories - whether in the form of racism's violence or the environmental unravelling of the life we thought we could have; Johnson’s characters all seek out home as a place and an internal state. Johnson creates a wide canvas for her characters and there’s both reverberating vulnerability and bravery to be found in each story. There's the Nigerian widower who emmigrates to a meager existence in the city of Alexandria, finding himself adrift; a young mixed-race woman who adopts a new language and name to escape the landscapes of rural Virginia and her family; or a single mother who seeks salvation through “Buying a House Ahead of the Apocalypse.” The titular novella imagines a future not that far out from today when instead of a march through downtown Charlottesville a militia of white supremacists attacks a Black neighborhood. A disparate group of mostly Black and Brown neighbors led by Da’Naisha, a young Black descendant of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, find an abandoned community bus and commandeer it to escape death. With the violence all around them, they seek refuge in Monticello, Jefferson’s historic plantation home in a desperate attempt to survive a racial and environmental unravelling within the nation. And In “Control Negro” a university professor devotes himself to the study of racism and the development of ACMs (average American Caucasian males) by clinically—and secretly—observing his
own son from birth to test his hypothesis on race in America.
Jocelyn Nicole Johnson’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Guernica, The Guardian, Phoebe, Prime Number Magazine, Kweli, Joyland, and elsewhere. Her short story “Control Negro” was anthologized in Best American Short Stories 2018, guest edited by Roxane Gay, and read live by LeVar Burton as part of PRI’s Selected Shorts series. Johnson has been a fellow at Hedgebrook, Tin House Summer Workshops, and VCCA. A veteran public school art teacher, Johnson lives and writes in Charlottesville, Virginia.
DANTIEL W. MONIZ is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, an Elizabeth George Foundation grant, the Alice Hoffman Prize for Fiction, and has been named a "Writer to Watch" by Publishers Weekly and Apple Books. Her debut collection, Milk Blood Heat, is an Indie Next Pick, an inaugural Roxane Gay Audacious Book Club pick, and has been hailed as "must-read" by TIME, Entertainment Weekly, Buzzefeed, Elle, and O, The Oprah Magazine, among others. Her work has appeared in the Paris Review, Harper’s Bazaar, Tin House, One Story, American Short Fiction, Ploughshares, The Yale Review, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern and elsewhere. Moniz is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.