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The critically acclaimed and Whiting Award–winning author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman returns with Libertie, an unforgettable story about one young Black girl’s attempt to find a place where she can be fully, and only, herself.
Coming of age as a freeborn Black girl in Reconstruction-era Brooklyn, Libertie Sampson is all too aware that her purposeful mother, a practicing physician, has a vision for their future together: Libertie is to go to medical school and practice alongside her. But Libertie, drawn more to music than science, feels stifled by her mother’s choices and is hungry for something else—is there really only one way to have an autonomous life? And she is constantly reminded that, unlike her mother, who can pass, Libertie has skin that is too dark. When a young man from Haiti proposes to Libertie and promises she will be his equal on the island, she accepts, only to discover that she is still subordinate to him and all men. As she tries to parse what freedom actually means for a Black woman, Libertie struggles with where she might find it—for herself and for generations to come.
Inspired by the life of one of the first Black female doctors in the United States and rich with historical detail, Kaitlyn Greenidge’s new and immersive novel will resonate with readers eager to understand our present through a deep, moving, and lyrical dive into our complicated past.
Praise for Libertie:
Named One of the Most-Anticipated Books of 2021 by: O, The Oprah Magazine, The Millions, Refinery29, Garden & Gun, Publishers Lunch, BuzzFeed, The Rumpus, BookPage, Harper's Bazaar, Ms. Magazine, and more!
“Pure brilliance. So much will be written about Libertie—how it blends history and magic into a new kind of telling, how it spins the past to draw deft circles around our present—but none of it will measure up to the singular joy of reading this book.” —Mira Jacob, author of Good Talk
“This is one of the most thoughtful and amazingly beautiful books I’ve read all year. Kaitlyn Greenidge is a master storyteller.” —Jacqueline Woodson, author of Red at the Bone
"I want to say that Kaitlyn Greenidge's Libertie is a glorious diasporic literary song, but the novel is so much more than that. A book so deeply invested in the politics and place of silence is one of the most melodious books I've read in decades. The ambition in Libertie is only exceeded by Greenidge's skill. This is it." —Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy
Kaitlyn Greenidge's debut novel, We Love You, Charlie Freeman, was one of the New York Times Critics’ Top 10 Books of 2016 and a finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. She is a contributing writer for the New York Times, and her writing has also appeared in Vogue, Glamour, the Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Whiting Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Greenidge lives in Brooklyn, New York.
C. Morgan Babst studied writing at NOCCA, Yale, and NYU. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in such journals as the Oxford American, Guernica, the Harvard Review, LitHub, and the New Orleans Review, and her piece “Death Is a Way to Be” was honored as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2016. She evacuated New Orleans one day before Hurricane Katrina made landfall. After eleven years in New York, she now lives in New Orleans with her husband and child. Her debut novel, The Floating World, was published by Algonquin Books.