NEW YORK – One of the most anticipated debut novels of the year, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers’ “The Love Songs of WEB Du Bois,” is now an Oprah Winfrey Book Club pick.
Jeffers’ novel, published Tuesday, traces centuries of black history through a family in the American South and its contemporary narrator, the young Ailey Paul Garfield. “The Love Songs of WEB Du Bois”, named after the canonical black scholar and activist, has received praise from Angie Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson and Stephanie Powell Watts, among others.
“I was so excited about the story of this modern black family and how writer Honorée Fanonne Jeffers has woven the greater web of historical trauma through family silence across generations,” Winfrey said in a statement. “It’s a combination of history and modernity, and it captivated me. I look forward to discussing with our readership and speaking to Honorée himself to discuss the issues that run through this particular novel. “
Tuesday’s announcement continues Winfrey’s story of selecting debut films; Her previous book club pick was Nathan Harris’ The Sweetness of Water.
Jeffers, 54, is already a celebrated poet, whose “The Age of Phillis” was longlisted for a National Book Award in 2020. As a professor of English at the University of Oklahoma, she advocated the stories and achievements of black women, including Winfrey.
“I first met the beauty, brilliance and empathy of Ms. Oprah Winfrey from afar when I saw her talk show on my television in the 1980s,” Jeffers said in a statement. “She made me believe that so many great things are possible for a young African American woman like me. That I could do anything, if only I put my hands, my mind and my spirit on the task, secret dream that one day I would write a book that this ‘phenomenal woman’ – about the great poet Dr. To quote Maya Angelou – read, enjoy and present to members of her book club. “
Winfrey founded her book club in 1996 and has been working with Apple since 2019. Her interview with Jeffers will air on Apple TV + on September 24th.