By: Aryanne Ferguson
Edward P. Jones is most famous for his Pulitzer Prize winning novel, “The Known World” (2003). Like most of the books I’ve read, I came across this novel in either a thrift store or the library. The novel is historical fiction, set in Virginia two decades before the Civil War, and it tells the story of a slave plantation run by an educated Black slave overseer. If you like historical fiction and you haven’t read “The Known World” – read it, Reader!
Jones was born and raised in Washington DC, a fact readily apparent from his two linked short story collections, “Lost in the City” (1992) and “All Aunt Hagar’s Children” (2006), which are richly populated with Black characters, set mostly in DC. I took a short story class in which we spent half a semester on “Lost in the City.” That was partly because Jones is that good, and partly because he was my professor’s mentor. She sang his praises to the sky, and rightfully so.
If you read short fiction anthologies, you’re bound to come across Edward P. Jones as well. And if you’re ever in DC, Jones is currently a visiting professor at George Washington University; you may be lucky enough to catch a reading. If not, your consolation prize is the author interview here where Jones discusses his writing process. It’s gold, Reader. Gold.