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Heads of the Colored People

Fiction: Autobiography, Short Stories
Unabridged   6.25 hour(s)
Publication date: 07/10/2018

2019 Audie Winner
2019 PEN America Literary Award Longlist
National Book Award Fiction Longlist 2018
2018 Kirkus Prize Finalist
Kirkus Best of 2018
NPR Best of 2018

Heads of the Colored People


Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781684413706
Digital Download ISBN:9781684413713


Calling to mind the best works of Paul Beatty and Junot Díaz, this collection of moving, timely, and darkly funny stories examines the concept of black identity in this so-called post-racial era.

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Product Description

A stunning new talent in literary fiction, Nafissa Thompson-Spires grapples with black identity and the contemporary middle class in these compelling, boundary-pushing vignettes.

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.


—“Ojo switches effortlessly between humor, anger, and despair, mirroring the characters’ range of emotional experiences.” —AudioFile

“Adenrele Ojo's narration captures the emotional intensity but does not overdo it.” —Library Journal Audio

"Vivid, fast, funny, way-smart, and verbally inventive, these stories by the vastly talented Thompson-Spires create a compelling surface tension made of equal parts skepticism towards human nature and intense fondness of it. Located on the big questions, they are full of heart." —George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo

"With devastating insight and remarkable style, Nafissa Thompson-Spires explores what it means to come to terms with one’s body, one’s family, one’s future. The eleven vignettes in Heads of the Colored People elevate the unusual and expose the unseen, forming an original—and urgent—portrait of American life.” —Allegra Hyde, Of This New World

Author Bio

Nafissa Thompson-Spires earned a doctorate in English from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Illinois. Her work has appeared in Story Quarterly, Lunch Ticket, and The Feminist Wire, among other publications. She is a 2016 fellow of the Callaloo Writer's Workshop.