NORMAN, Okla. (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — One of the most anticipated novels of the year is from University of Oklahoma professor Honorée Fanonne Jeffers. He debut work “The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois,” is now available and is an Oprah Winfrey book club pick.

Jeffers’ novel traces centuries of Black history through a family in the American South and its contemporary narrator, young Ailey Paul Garfield. “The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois,” named for the canonical Black scholar and activist, has received advance praise from Angie Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson and Stephanie Powell Watts among others.

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“I was so enraptured by the story of this modern Black family, and how author Honorée Fanonne Jeffers wove the larger fabric of historical trauma through the family’s silence through generations,” Winfrey said in a statement. “It’s a combination of historical and modern and it consumed me. I look forward to discussing with our community of readers and speaking with Honorée herself to discuss the themes that run throughout this special novel.”

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Jeffers, 54, is already an acclaimed poet whose “The Age of Phillis” (in conversation with Kerry Sinanan, assistant professor of English, University of Texas-San Antonio) was on the long list in 2020 for a National Book Award. A professor of English at OU, Jeffers has championed the stories and achievements of Black women, including Winfrey.

“She made me believe that so many great things were possible for a young, African American woman like me. That I could do anything if I just set my hands, mind, and spirit to the task,” Jeffers said in a statement.

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