© Zach Smith
Ladee Hubbard is the author of two novels: The Talented Ribkins, which received both the Ernest J. Gaines Award and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for Debut Fiction, and The Rib King. She is a recipient of a 2022 Guggenheim fellowship and has also received fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, the American Academy in Berlin, MacDowell, and Hedgebrook, among other organizations. She currently lives in New Orleans.
10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
State Capitol, House Committee Room 3
Bright Lights of Contemporary Literature
with Taylor Brown, Louis Edwards, Ladee Hubbard, Emily Nemens, M.O. Walsh, and moderator Jennifer S. Davis
Noon to 12:45 p.m.
Cavalier House Bookselling Tent
2:00 p.m. to 3 p.m.
State Capitol, House Committee Room 1
A Sense of Place: Short Stories
with Jennifer S. Davis, Ladee Hubbard, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, Andrew Siegrist, and moderator Tom Piazza
3:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Cavalier House Bookselling Tent
The Last Suspicious Holdout: Stories
“Fiercely intelligent, warm in their own way, and absolutely absorbing. . . . Excellent excellent excellent.”—Roxane Gay
“Ladee Hubbard is a true original, and this book is a unique beauty.”—Mary Gaitskill
The critically acclaimed author of The Rib King returns with an eagerly anticipated collection of interlocking short stories including the title story written exclusively for this volume, that explore relationships between friends, family and strangers in a Black neighborhood over fifteen years.
The thirteen gripping tales In The Last Suspicious Holdout, the new story collection by award-winning author Ladee Hubbard, deftly chronicle poignant moments in the lives of an African American community located in a “sliver of southern suburbia.” Spanning from 1992 to 2007, the stories represent a period during which the Black middle-class expanded while stories of "welfare Queens," "crack babies," and "super predators" abounded in the media. In “False Cognates,” a formerly incarcerated attorney struggles with raising the tuition to keep his troubled son in an elite private school. In “There He Go,” a young girl whose mother moves constantly clings to a picture of the grandfather she doesn’t know but invents stories of his greatness. Characters spotlighted in one story reappear in another, providing a stunning testament to the enduring resilience of Black people as they navigate the “post-racial” period The Last Suspicious Holdout so vividly portrays.
The Rib King: A Novel
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“Ultimately the reason to read The Rib King is not its timeliness or its insight into politics or Black culture, but because it accomplishes what the best fiction sets out to do: It drops you into a world you could not otherwise visit and makes you care deeply about what happens there.”--BookPage (starred review)
The acclaimed author of The Talented Ribkins deconstructs painful African American stereotypes and offers a fresh and searing critique on race, class, privilege, ambition, exploitation, and the seeds of rage in America in this intricately woven and masterfully executed historical novel, set in early the twentieth century that centers around the black servants of a down-on-its heels upper-class white family.
For fifteen years August Sitwell has worked for the Barclays, a well-to-do white family who plucked him from an orphan asylum and gave him a job. The groundskeeper is part of the household’s all-black staff, along with “Miss Mamie,” the talented cook, pretty new maid Jennie Williams, and three young kitchen apprentices—the latest orphan boys Mr. Barclay has taken in to "civilize" boys like August.
But the Barclays fortunes have fallen, and their money is almost gone. When a prospective business associate proposes selling Miss Mamie’s delicious rib sauce to local markets under the brand name “The Rib King”—using a caricature of a wildly grinning August on the label—Mr. Barclay, desperate for cash, agrees. Yet neither Miss Mamie nor August will see a dime. Humiliated, August grows increasingly distraught, his anger building to a rage that explodes in shocking tragedy.
Elegantly written and exhaustively researched, The Rib King is an unsparing examination of America’s fascination with black iconography and exploitation that redefines African American stereotypes in literature. In this powerful, disturbing, and timely novel, Ladee Hubbard reveals who people actually are, and most importantly, who and what they are not.
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