Jamila Minnicks on Moonrise Over New Jessup with Robert Jones, Jr.

The Center for Fiction welcomes Jamila Minnicks for a rich conversation on her acclaimed debut novel, Moonrise Over New Jessup, winner of the 2021 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. In this enchanting novel, Alice arrives in New Jessup, a thriving, self-sufficient Black community where people are skeptical of those lobbying for integration. There, she falls in love with Raymond Campbell, whose clandestine organizing activities challenge New Jessup’s longstanding status quo. Moonrise over New Jessup offers an insightful, fresh perspective of Black people flourishing in the American South, a celebration of Black joy, and a timely examination of the opposing viewpoints that attended desegregation in America. Award-winning author Robert Jones, Jr. (The Prophets) joins Minnicks to discuss her compelling and complex novel about love, family, community, and safety.

Presented in partnership with The Center for Fiction.



Jamila Minnicks’ work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Catapult, Blackbird, CRAFT, The Write Launch, and elsewhere. Her piece, Politics of Distraction, was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan, the Howard University School of Law, and the Georgetown University Law Center.  She lives in Washington, DC. 

Robert Jones Jr. headshot

Photo by Alberto Vargas/Rainriver Images

Robert Jones, Jr. is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel, The Prophets, which won the 2022 Publishing Triangle Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and the 2022 NAIBA Book of the Year Award for Fiction. It was also a finalist for the 2021 National Book Award for Fiction and was named a notable book by the New York Times and one of the best books of 2021 by Time, Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, the Boston Globe, and the Washington Post, among many others. His writings have been featured in the New York Times, Essence, and the Paris Review, as well as in the critically acclaimed anthologies Four Hundred Souls and The 1619 Project. Subscribe to his newsletter, Witness, at robertjonesjr.substack.com.