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Between Starshine and Clay: Narratives of Black Bodily Autonomy

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Saturday, 11/19
2:15 pm to 3:45 pm

One can describe the novels of Robert Jones, Jr. and Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa as historical fiction, set in 19th-century plantations in Mississippi and Puerto Rico respectively. Jones Jr.’s 2021 award winning novel, The Prophets, centers on two male lovers, Isaiah and Samuel, carving out space for their own heart’s desires. Llanos-Figueroa’s two novels revolve around enslaved women and their descendants, insisting on liberation on their own terms. While the brutality of slavery besieges the lives of the protagonists, their stories center on deep spiritual agency, physical rebellion, and the beautiful, stubborn exercise of will. In this moderated panel with Racial Justice Reads founder, R. Cielo Cruz, these two powerful novelists and cultural commentators will share excerpts from their works, answer questions, and discuss the shared themes in their fiction.