• Raised—Dallas, Texas, and Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA
• Education—B.A., Wellseley College; M.F.A., Columbia
• Awards—Bellwether Award; Alex Award (American Library
Assoc.); Fiction of the Year (New Atlantic Independent Book-
• Currently—lives in New York State, soon in New York City
Hillary Jordan is the author of two novels: Mudbound, published in March 2008, and When She Woke, published in October 2011, both by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. She received a BA from Wellesley College and an MFA from Columbia University. She grew up in Dallas, TX and Muskogee, OK and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Mudbound is a story of betrayal, murder and forbidden love set in on a cotton farm in the Mississippi Delta in 1946, during the height of the Jim Crow era. The story is told in alternating first-person narratives by the members of two families: the McAllans, the white family that owns the farm; and the Jacksons, a black family that works for the McAllans as share tenants. When two sons, Jamie McAllan and Ronsel Jackson, return from fighting World War II, the unlikely friendship of these brothers-in-arms sets in motion a harrowing chain of events that test the faith and courage of both families. As they strive for love and honor in a brutal time and place, they become players in a tragedy on the grandest scale and find redemption where they least expect it.
When She Woke
"When she woke, she was red. Not flushed, not sunburned, but the solid, declarative red of a stop sign." Hannah Payne’s life has been devoted to church and family. But after she’s convicted of murder, she awakens in a new body to a nightmarish new life. She finds herself lying on a table in a bare room, covered only by a paper gown, with cameras broadcasting her every move to millions at home, for whom observing new “chromes”—criminals whose skin color has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime—is a sinister form of entertainment. Hannah is a Red; her crime is murder. The victim, says the state of Texas, was her unborn child, and Hannah is determined to protect the identity of the father, a public figure with whom she shared a fierce and forbidden love.
A powerful reimagining of The Scarlet Letter, When She Woke is a timely fable about a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of the not-too-distant future, where the line between church and state has been eradicated and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned and rehabilitated, but “chromed” and released back into the population to survive as best they can. In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a journey of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes faith and love.
Mudbound won a 2009 Alex Award from the American Library Association as well as the 2006 Bellwether Prize for fiction, founded by author Barbara Kingsolver and awarded biennially to an unpublished work of fiction that addresses issues of social justice. It was the 2008 NAIBA (New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association) Fiction Book of the Year, was long-listed for the 2010 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and named one of the Top Ten Debut Novels of the Decade by Paste Magazine. Mudbound was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick, a Borders Original Voices selection, a Book Sense pick, one of twelve New Voices for 2008 chosen by Waterstone's UK, a Richard & Judy New Writers Book Of The Month, and one of Indie Next's top ten reading group suggestions for 2009.
When She Woke was the #1 Indie Next pick for October 2011 and one of Publishers Weekly's Top Ten Literary Fiction picks for the fall. (Adapted from Wikipedia.)
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