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Black History Month Panel

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers is a poet, essayist, and novelist. She’s the author of five critically acclaimed books of poetry—including The Age of Phillis, which won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetryand the bestselling novel The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois. Her word has been longlisted for the National Book Award for Poetry and Fiction as well as the PEN/Voelcker Award.

As a corporate attorney, Wanda M. Morris has worked in the legal departments of some of America’s top Fortune 100 companies. She is an alumna of the Yale Writers Workshop and Robert McKee’s Story Seminar. Wanda is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America and Crime Writers of Color. All Her Little Secrets is her debut novel.

Vanessa Riley is an award-winning author of historical fiction and historical romance, showcasing the hidden histories of women of color and emphasizing strong sisterhoods and dazzling multicultural communities.

Event and Book

(VIRTUAL EVENT) Join three bestselling and award-winning authors—Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Wanda M. Morris, and Vanessa Riley—for a special Black History Month panel. Their three books—The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois, All Her Little Secrets, and Island Queen—bridge generations of women’s stories across three different genres. Together, they will discuss the joys and struggles of their Black heroines from the 1800s to today, as well as dive into their writing processes, inspirations, and favorite stories.

About the Books

An instant New York Times bestseller and an Oprah Book Club selection, The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois is an intimate yet sweeping novel with all the luminescence and force of Homegoing; Sing, Unburied, Sing; and The Water Dancer that chronicles the journey of one American family, from the centuries of the colonial slave trade through the Civil War to our own tumultuous era. 

Called “a brilliantly nuanced but powerhouse exploration of race, the legal system, and the crushing pressure of keeping secrets” by bestselling author Karin Slaughter, All Her Little Secrets is a fast-paced thriller about a Black lawyer who gets caught in a dangerous conspiracy after the sudden death of her boss.

Island Queen is a remarkable, sweeping historical novel based on the incredible true life story of Dorothy Kirwan Thomas, a free woman of color who rose from slavery to become one of the wealthiest and most powerful landowners in the colonial West Indies. The New York Times hailed the book as “riveting and transformative, evocative and immersive…a singular pleasure.”

Guest Host | Rochelle Riley

Rochelle Riley is the Director of Arts and Culture for the City of Detroit. She spent nearly 25 years as an award-winning Detroit Free Press columnist before leaving in 2019 to serve as Director of Arts and Culture for the City of Detroit. She is author of five books, including The Burden: African Americans and the Enduring Impact of Slavery and That They Lived: African Americans Who Changed the World.

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Cottage Book Shop – Glen Arbor

Horizon Books – Traverse City

McLean & Eakin – Petoskey

Saturn Booksellers – Gaylord

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Traverse Area District Library

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This activity is supported in part by and award from the MICHIGAN COUNCIL FOR ARTS AND CULTURAL AFFAIRS, MICHIGAN HUMANITIES COUNCIL and the NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS.

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Grantors

This activity is supported in part by and award from the MICHIGAN COUNCIL FOR ARTS AND CULTURAL AFFAIRS, MICHIGAN HUMANITIES COUNCIL and the NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS.

Raising Writers Grantor