Coleman Hill

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Coleman Hill is the exhilarating story of two American families whose fates become intertwined in the wake of the Great Migration. Braiding fact and fiction, it is a remarkable, character-rich tour de force exploring the ties that bind three generations.

In 1916, Celia Coleman and Lucy Grimes flee the racism and poverty of their homes in the post–Civil War South for the “Promised Land” of the North. But soon they learn that even in Vauxhall, New Jersey, black women are mainly hired for domestic work, money is scarce, children don’t progress in school, and black men die young.

Within a few short years, both women’s husbands are dead. Left to navigate this unwelcoming place alone, Celia and Lucy turn to one another for support in raising their children far from home. They become one another’s closest confidantes and, encouraged by their mothers’ friendship, their children’s lives become enmeshed as well. However, with this closeness comes complication. As the children grow into adolescence, two are caught in an impulsive act of impropriety, and Celia and Lucy find themselves at irreconcilable odds over who’s to blame. The ensuing fallout has dire consequences that reverberate through the next two generations of their families.

A stunning biomythography—a word coined by the late great writer Audre Lorde—Coleman Hill draws from the author’s own family legend, historical record, and fervent imagination to create an unforgettable new history.


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Finalist for the Carol Shields Prize for FictionFinalist for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Debut AuthorFinalist for the Audie Award for Multi-Voiced Performance • Long-listed for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize

A Washington Post Noteworthy Book for September 2023 • A Good Morning America Spectacular Book of the Month • A Christian Science Monitor Good Summer Reading Pick • A The Root Books By Black Authors We Can’t Wait to Read • A The Millions Most Anticipated Book • A Tertulia Best Indie Publisher Book of 2023 • A Debutiful Debut Books to Read in September • A Chicago Tribune Top Pick for Reading Season • A Boston Herald Top Pick for Fall 2023

“Once in a while, a writer comes along with a brilliance that stops the breath. Kim Coleman Foote is that writer.” —Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award–winning author of Red at the Bone

“A masterpiece. Brilliant, vivid, heartbreaking, epic, beautiful, raw and true . . . This is the American story.” ―Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Less Is Lost

“Kim Coleman Foote has the rare talent of completely immersing you in time and place . . . A sweeping yet intimate family saga.” —Sarah Jessica Parker

Coleman Hill is a gorgeous collage of history, memory, and imagination.” ―Danielle Evans, author of The Office of Historical Corrections

“Gripping, poetic, and with a big heart, it’s a memorable work of grim determination and surprising optimism.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A riveting two-family epic with a chorus of unforgettable voices, equal parts haunting and illuminating.” ―Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies

“As though lit by the spirit of Audre Lorde, Kim Coleman Foote’s Coleman Hill is a furnace, incandescent with characters who flare and burn, reflecting and refracting the complex ways collective trauma ripples down through the generations. I loved this book.” ―Asako Serizawa, author of Inheritors

“Filled with family drama so urgent and riveting that it’s hard to put down.” ―Maisy Card, American Book Award–winning author of These Ghosts Are Family

Coleman Hill feels like we are in the living room as recipients of the most vital family lore. Bluesy, wholesome, and soulful. Archival and fabulistic. Trysts, triumphs, and triangles that weave together in a fine piece of patchwork mirroring the story of America itself.” ―Sidik Fofana, author of Stories from the Tenants Downstairs

“This stunning debut stitches together a rich, layered narrative of two connected and conflicted African American families. These people endure misfortunes from one generation to the next, their lives offering heartfelt testimony to our ability as Black people in this country to make a way out of no way.” ―Jeffery Renard Allen, author of Fat Time and Other Stories

Publication Details

Publisher: ‎ SJP Lit/Zando
Release date: ‎ September 5, 2023