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Nafissa Thompson-Spires earned a PhD in English from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Illinois. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The White Review, the Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly, StoryQuarterly, Lunch Ticket and The Feminist Wire, among other publications. She is a 2016 participant of the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, a 2017 Tin House workshopee, and a 2017 Sewanee Writers Conference Stanley Elkin Scholar. Born in San Diego, California, she now lives in Illinois with her husband.
In this crackling debut collection Nafissa Thompson-Spires interrogates our supposedly post-racial era. To wicked and devastating effect she exposes the violence, both external and self-inflicted, that threatens black Americans, no matter their apparent success. A teenager is insidiously bullied as her YouTube following soars; an assistant professor finds himself losing a subtle war of attrition against his office mate; a nurse is worn down by the demand for her skills as a funeral singer. And across a series of stories, a young woman grows up, negotiating and renegotiating her identity. Heads of the Colored People shows characters in crisis, both petty and catastrophic. It marks the arrival of a remarkable writer and an essential and urgent new voice.