Ivoe Williams is one of the most driven characters you'll ever read. As a black woman working as a journalist and newspaperwoman in the time of Jim Crow, she has to be. Her struggles, achievements, and loves come about in a pervading atmosphere of oppression that's both catastrophic and banal, and often violent. But Ivoe's story is is also about incredible strength and joy, animated by vibrant prose and a truly rewarding depth of historical detail that lifts up the work of early African-American newspapers. I didn't expect to be so surprised, challenged, and moved when I began this book, but Jam on the Vine is that kind of book.
So many historical novels read like connect-the-dots puzzles or costume dramas, so one that is fresh, original and time-travels to an undiscovered past is a real discovery...Jam On The Vine stands on its own as a powerful coming-of-age novel, and it is also a sharp reminder of the critically important role played by the African-American newspaper in American history. Chicago Tribune A captivating saga...The verdict: unforgettable; gripping; instant classic. Elle As addictive as your mom's fresh-baked buttermilk biscuits, and just as delicious. Essence A vivid depiction of the black experience during one of the ugliest periods in American race relations. Knoxville News Sentinel A dynamic and compulsive debut, Jam on the Vine chronicles the life of trailblazing African American woman journalist, Ivoe Williams, through the start of the twentieth century. In unflinching prose, we follow Ivoe and her family from the Deep South to the Midwest. Jam on the Vine is both an epic vision of the injustices that defined an era and a compelling story of a complicated history we only thought we knew. Ivoe is a splendid character, mouthy, determined, crusading and irrepressibly cheerful. Wall Street Journal A major work of fiction that entertains and edifies us, while it rescues a little-known story from the back pages of history. Dallas Morning News A] big, bold bildungsroman of a debut. The Guardian.com If a historical fiction author's purpose is to give a reader a better understanding and empathy for the people of the time and place, then Barnett hit the mark. The Missourian
About the Author
LaShonda Katrice Barnett was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1974 and grew up in Park Forest, Illinois. She is the author of a story collection and editor of the volumes: I Got Thunder: Black Women Songwriters On Their Craft (2007) and Off the Record: Conversations with African American & Brazilian Women Musicians (Rowman & Littlefield, Spring 2014). For short fiction she received the College Language Association Award and the New York Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Artist Grant. Recent awards for writing and historical fiction research include the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities & National Endowment for the Humanities grant #45.129; Mystic Seaport s Munson Institute of Maritime Culture Paul Cuffe Memorial Fellowship; Sewanee Writers Conference Tennessee Williams Scholarship and the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center Advanced Fiction fellowship. A graduate of the University of Missouri, she received an M.A. in Women s History from Sarah Lawrence College and the Ph.D. in American Studies from the College of William and Mary. She has taught literature and history at Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College, Hunter College and Brown University."