Heads of the Colored People

Longlist, National Book Awards 2018 for Fiction

Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires book cover
ISBN 9781501167997
Atria Books / 37 INK / Simon & Schuster
Nafissa Thompson Spires author photo, credit Adrianne Mathiowetz Photography
Nafissa Thompson-Spires

Nafissa Thompson-Spires earned a PhD in English from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Illinois. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The White Review, Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal, StoryQuarterly, Lunch Ticket, and The Feminist Wire, among other publications. More about this author >

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Each captivating story plunges headfirst into the lives of new, utterly original characters. Some are darkly humorous—from two mothers exchanging snide remarks through notes in their kids’ backpacks, to the young girl contemplating how best to notify her Facebook friends of her impending suicide—while others are devastatingly poignant—a new mother and funeral singer who is driven to madness with grief for the young black boys who have fallen victim to gun violence, or the teen who struggles between her upper middle class upbringing and her desire to fully connect with black culture.

Thompson-Spires fearlessly shines a light on the simmering tensions and precariousness of black citizenship. Her stories are exquisitely rendered, satirical, and captivating in turn, engaging in the ongoing conversations about race and identity politics, as well as the vulnerability of the black body. Boldly resisting categorization and easy answers, Nafissa Thompson-Spires is an original and necessary voice in contemporary fiction.

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