Minrose Gwin
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Minrose GwinMINROSE GWIN'S MOST RECENT BOOKS are the novels The Accidentals (William Morrow/HarperCollins), Promise (William Morrow/HarperCollins) and The Queen of Palmyra (HarperCollins/Harper Perennial), a memoir, Wishing for Snow (HarperCollins/Harper Perennial), and Remembering Medgar Evers: Writing the Long Civil Rights Movement (University of Georgia Press).

A native of Tupelo, Mississippi, Minrose has been a writer all of her working life, starting out as a newspaper and wire service reporter and working in Mobile, Atlanta, Nashville, and Knoxville. She has taught as a professor at universities around the country, most recently at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has spent many summers leading creative writing workshops at the University of New Mexico Writers' Conference in Taos and Santa Fe. She lives in Austin, TX, and Albuquerque, NM.

PromiseMinrose’s 2019 novel, The Accidentals, has been described by Kirkus Reviews as “an important story about women's reproductive rights and the consequences of limited choices [that] will transport readers to the rural Mississippi of a bygone era.” Writing in Women’s Review of Books, Margaret Randall calls the book “a major work by someone whose earlier novels already marked her as one of this generation’s great novelists.”

The novel follows the lives of two sisters, Grace and June McAlister, whose mother, Olivia, dies from a botched abortion in the pre-Roe vs. Wade South. Finding herself in the small paper mill town of Opelika, Mississippi, Olivia dreams of living a much larger life—seeing Paris and returning to her wartime job at a landing boat factory in New Orleans. As she watches over the birds in her yard, Olivia feels like an “accidental”—a migratory bird blown off course.

When she becomes pregnant again, she makes the fateful decision that reverberates throughout Grace’s and June’s lives. Grace, caught up in an unconventional love affair at age sixteen, becomes one of the “girls who went away” to have a baby in secret. June, guilt-ridden for her part in exposing Grace’s pregnancy, eventually makes an unhappy marriage. Meanwhile Ed Mae Johnson, a care worker in a New Orleans orphanage, is drastically impacted by Grace’s choices. As the years go by, their lives intersect in way that reflect the unpredictable flights of birds diverted from their expected journey—and the consolations of imperfect return.

 



Finalist for the Willie Morris Award in Southern Literature

Minrose's 2018 novel, Promise, imagines the aftermath of the devastating Tupelo, Mississipi tornado of 1936, the fourth most deadly tornado in the country's history. The official death toll was 233 residents, with around 1,000 injured, many of them seriously. What Minrose would later learn is that she had heard only one side of this tragedy while growing up in Tupelo. Members of the black community had been omitted from the official casualty figures, their deaths erased from the historical record, despite the fact that many lived on a high ridge that took the brunt of the storm.

So the real story of the Tupelo tornado is one of the deeper devastation of racial injustice, which extended even beyond the grave. In Promise, Minrose excavates that untold story of the uncounted. Promiseis now out in paperback!

The story is about two missing babies (one named Promise) and is related from the perspectives of an African American great-grandmother and a white teenager, whose families are irrevocably bound together by an act of sexual violence that reverberates through several generations and links these two women as they struggle to find their family members.




 

The Queen of Palymra, Minrose's first novel, was a Barnes & Noble "Discover Great New Writers" pick, a finalist for the John Gardner Fiction Book Award, and an IndieBound Notable book. The Women's National Book Association selected it as one of 13 "Great Group Reads" for 2010. It was hailed by Lee Smith as "the most powerful and also the most lyrical novel about race, racism, and denial in the American South since To Kill a Mockingbird and Jill McCorkle calls it "a brilliant and compelling novel ... The beauty of the prose, the strength of voice and the sheer force of circumstance will hold the reader spellbound from beginning to end."

Wishing for Snow, Minrose's memoir about the convergence of poetry and psychosis in her mother's life, has been praised by Booklist as "eloquent" and "lyrical"—"a real life story we all need to hear." Originally published by LSU Press, it was reissued as a HarperPerennial paperback in 2011.

Wearing another hat as a literary critic, she has written four scholarly books, including Remembering Medgar Evers: Writing the Long Civil Rights Movement, and was a coeditor of The Literature of the American South, published by W.W. Norton, and the Southern Literary Journal.
To schedule an interview or appearance with Minrose, please contact:

Julie Paulauski senior publicist, HarperCollins Publishers
Julie.Paulauski@harpercollins.com
212-207-7108

She is also happy to speak with book clubs. She may be contacted directly at mgwin@email.unc.edu.