TomorrowTalks with Jocelyn Nicole Johnson: My Monticello

Photo of author Jocelyn Nicole Johnson by Billy Hunt

Arizona State University welcomes fiction writer Jocelyn Nicole Johnson as a guest in its TomorrowTalks series. Johnson will discuss her story collection, "My Monticello" in an online event on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022 at 7 p.m. Arizona / MST (7 p.m. PDT / 8 p.m. MDT / 9 p.m. CDT / 10 p.m. EDT). The conversation will be facilitated by ASU Writing Programs Director Kyle Jensen, founder of the TomorrowTalks series and a professor of English who studies contemporary political rhetoric.

The event is free of charge and open to the public; registration is required.

About the book

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A young woman descended from Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings driven from her neighborhood by a white militia. A university professor studying racism by conducting a secret social experiment on his own son. A single mother desperate to buy her first home even as the world hurtles toward catastrophe. Each fighting to survive in America.

Tough-minded, vulnerable, and brave, Jocelyn Nicole Johnson’s precisely imagined debut explores burdened inheritances and extraordinary pursuits of belonging. Set in the near future, the eponymous novella, “My Monticello,” tells of a diverse group of Charlottesville neighbors fleeing violent white supremacists. Led by Da’Naisha, a young Black descendant of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, they seek refuge in Jefferson’s historic plantation home in a desperate attempt to outlive the long-foretold racial and environmental unravelling within the nation.

About Jocelyn Nicole Johnson

Jocelyn Nicole Johnson is the author of "My Monticello," a fiction debut that was called "a masterly feat" by the New York Times, which  placed third on Time Magazine's 10 best books of the year. "My Monticello" won the Weatherford Award, the Lillian Smith Prize, the Balcones Prize, and was finalist for many others, including a National Book Critics Circle Award, a PEN/Faulkner Award, and an LA Times Book Award. Johnson has been a fellow at TinHouse, Hedgebrook, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her writing appears in Guernica, The Guardian and elsewhere. Her short story “Control Negro” was anthologized in "The Best American Short Stories 2018," guest edited by Roxane Gay and read live by LeVar Burton. A veteran public school art teacher, Johnson lives and writes in Charlottesville, Virginia.

About the series

TomorrowTalks place thought leaders of today in conversation with the changemakers of tomorrow: our students. Each distinguished speaker will explain how they use writing to address our most pressing challenges. This year, the series talks with trailblazers; in addition to Johnson, speakers include Jonathan Franzen (Oct. 5), Percival Everett (Nov. 3), and Jemele Hill (Jan. 26).

TomorrowTalks are a student-engagement initiative led by the Division of Humanities in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ASU and hosted by ASU's Department of English in partnership with Macmillan Publishers.

Photo of Jocelyn Nicole Johnson by Billy Hunt

Kyle Jensen
Writing Programs, Department of English