2017 National Book Award Longlist, Fiction

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton Margaret Wilkerson Sexton 
A Kind of Freedom
(Counterpoint Press)

ISBN: 9781619029224


Evelyn is a Creole woman who comes of age in New Orleans at the height of World War II. Her family inhabits the upper echelon of Black society and when she falls for Renard, she is forced to choose between her life of privilege and the man she loves.

In 1982, Evelyn’s daughter, Jackie, is a frazzled single mother grappling with her absent husband’s drug addiction. Just as she comes to terms with his abandoning the family, he returns, ready to resume their old life. Jackie must decide if the promise of her husband is worth the near certainty he’ll leave again. Jackie’s son, T.C., loves the creative process of growing marijuana more than the weed itself. He finds something hypnotic about training the seedlings, testing the levels, trimming the leaves, drying the buds. He was a square before Hurricane Katrina, but the New Orleans he knew didn’t survive the storm. But fresh out of a four-month stint for drug charges, T.C. decides to start over—until an old friend convinces him to stake his new beginning on one last deal.

For Evelyn, Jim Crow is an ongoing reality, and in its wake new threats spring up to haunt her descendants. A Kind of Freedom is an urgent novel that explores the legacy of racial disparity in the South through a poignant and redemptive family history.

About the Author

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton was born and raised in New Orleans. She studied creative writing at Dartmouth and law at UC Berkeley. She was a recipient of the Lombard fellowship and spent a year in the Dominican Republic working for a civil rights organization. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her stories have been published or are forthcoming in Grey Sparrow Journal, Limestone Journal, and Broad! Magazine. She lives in the Bay Area, California.


- TWITTER: @MWilkers13

(Photo credit: Ben Krantz)


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