NEW YORK (AP) – One of the year’s most anticipated debut novels, “The Love Songs of WEB Du Bois” by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, is now an Oprah Winfrey Book Club pick.
Published Tuesday, Jeffers’ novel traces centuries of black history through a family in the southern United States and its contemporary narrator, young Ailey Paul Garfield. “The Love Songs of WEB Du Bois,” named after the canonical black scholar and activist, has received prior praise from Angie Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson and Stephanie Powell Watts, among others.
“I have been so captivated by the history of this modern black family and the way author Honorée Fanonne Jeffers has woven the larger fabric of historical trauma through the silence of the family through the generations,” said Winfrey said in a statement. “It’s a combination of historic and modern and it consumed me. I look forward to chatting with our community of readers and speaking with Honorée herself to discuss the themes running through this special novel.
Tuesday’s announcement continues Winfrey’s story of early fiction selection; Her previous book club choice was Nathan Harris’ “The Softness of the Water”.
Jeffers, 54, is already an acclaimed poet whose “The Age of Phillis” was on the long list in 2020 for a National Book Award. An English professor at the University of Oklahoma, she has championed the stories and achievements of black women, including Winfrey.
“I first encountered the beauty, sparkle and empathy of Ms. Oprah Winfrey from afar while watching her talk show on my television in the 1980s,” Jeffers said in a statement. “She made me believe that so many great things were possible for a young African American woman like me. That I could do anything if I put my hands and my mind and my mind to work. As a creative writer, it was my secret dream to one day write a book that this “phenomenal woman” – to quote the great poet, Dr. Maya Angelou – would read, enjoy and present to the members of her book. club.”
Winfrey founded his book club in 1996 and has been an Apple partner since 2019. His interview with Jeffers will air September 24 on Apple TV +.