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HBS 026 Author Natalie Baszile Queen Sugar book, and the TV Series on Oprah's OWN TV Network
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Natalie is the author of Queen Sugar, soon to be adapted for television by writer/director Ava DuVernay of “Selma” fame, and co-produced by Oprah Winfrey for OWN, Oprah’s television network. Natalie has an M.A. in Afro-American Studies from UCLA and is a graduate of Warren Wilson College’s MFA Program for Writers where she was a Holden Minority Scholar. An early version of Queen Sugar won the Hurston Wright College Writer’s Award, was a co-runner-up in the Faulkner Pirate’s Alley Novel-in-Progress competition, and excerpts were published in Cairn and ZYZZYVA. She has had residencies at the Ragdale Foundation where she was awarded the Sylvia Clare Brown fellowship, Virginia Center for the Arts, and Hedgebrook. Her non-fiction work has appeared in The Rumpus.net, Mission at Tenth, and in The Best Women’s Travel Writing Volume 9. She is a former fiction editor at The Cortland Review and is a member of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. Natalie grew up in Southern California and lives in San Francisco with her family.
Queen Sugar; A mother-daughter story of reinvention—about an African American woman who unexpectedly inherits a sugarcane farm in Louisiana.
Why exactly her late father left her eight hundred acres of prime sugarcane land in Louisiana is as mysterious as it is generous. But for Charley Bordelon, it’s also an opportunity start over: to get away from the smog and sprawl of Los Angeles, and to grow a new life in the coffee-dark soil of the Gulf coast. Accompanied by her eleven-year-old daughter Micah, Charley arrives with high hopes and just in time for growing season.
Charley is as unfamiliar with Southern customs as she is with cane farming—which poses serious challenges both on and off the farm, especially when her farm manager leaves without warning. But, rolling up her sleeves and swallowing her pride, Charley finds the help of a colorful cast of characters—blood relatives and townspeople alike—who all become a family to her and Micah.
As the cane grows, Charley is tested by a brother who is quickly using up her patience, and it will take all of her heart to keep the sugar growing and her family intact. Queen Sugar is a story of Southern wisdom, unexpected love, and one family flourishing against all odds.
Reviews : Baszile is an eloquent and descriptive writer. . . [Queen Sugar] artfully captures the timelessness of the struggle to survive, the virtues of perseverance, and the undying bonds of blood. —Bust Magazine
“Queen Sugar is a page-turning, heart-breaking novel of the new south, where the past is never truly past, but the future is a hot, bright promise. This is a story of family and the healing power of our connections—to each other, and to the rich land beneath our feet.” —Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow
“In her heartfelt and beautiful debut novel, Natalie Baszile tells a tale of the South that is as deeply rooted in time and place as it is universal. How do we make sense of family? Loss? The legacies passed down to us? These are the questions that Charley, a young widowed mother, grapples with as she tries to save the sugarcane plantation that is her inheritance and which, unbeknownst to her, holds the answers to both her past and her future.” —Ruth Ozeki, author of A Tale for the Time Being
“After turning the last page of Queen Sugar, I already miss the gutsy, contemporary African American woman who ditches California and migrates to Louisiana to run her inherited cane farm. Natalie Baszile is a fresh, new voice that resists all Southern stereotypes, and delivers an authentic knock-out read.” —Lalita Tademy, New York Times bestselling author of Cane River and Red River
“Natalie Baszile debuts with an irresistible tale of family, community, personal obligation, and personal reinvention. The world is full of things that keep you down and things that lift you up—Queen Sugar is about both and in approximately equal measure. Smart and heart-felt and highly recommended.” —Karen Joy Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
“Raw with hardship and tender with hope, Queen Sugar digs deep to the core of a courageous young widow’s life as she struggles to keep her farm in Louisiana’s sugarcane country. Natalie Baszile writes with a bold and steady hand.” —Beth Hoffman, New York Times bestselling author of Looking for Me and Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
“Queen Sugar is a gorgeous, moving story about what grounds us as brothers and sisters, as mothers and daughters, and all the ways we fight to save each other. Natalie Baszile’s characters put brave roots into inhospitable ground, looking for a place, a person, a community to call home home. I alternately laughed and wept as they failed each other, forgave each other, lost each other, found themselves. It’s a wise, strong book, and I loved it. You will, too.” —Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of Gods in Alabama
“Natalie Baszile’s Queen Sugar is a sweeping, beautifully wrought, and uniquely American story that brings to vibrant life the little-known world of Louisiana’s sugarcane country. I fell in love with Charley Bordelon—her huge heart, her kindness, her courage, and her resilience. A lyrical and page-turning meditation on second chances, reinvention, family, and race, Queen Sugar casts quite a spell.” —Melanie Gideon, author of The Slippery Year and Wife 22
“Queen Sugar is an accomplished, confident narrative that announces the arrival of a writer to watch.” —Krys Lee, author of Drifting House
“Gorgeous . . . an exquisitely written book about the joys and sorrows of family, love, endurance, and hard work. I can’t ask much more of any novel.” —Peter Orner, author of Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge
“Queen Sugar is story of reinvention and reconciliation about an African American woman who unexpectedly inherits a sugarcane farm in Louisiana. It is a remarkable tale of hope, endurance, and love.” —Ann Trice, Garden District Bookshop
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