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Stumbling Blocks and Other Unfinished Work
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Stumbling Blocks expands and contextualizes the unpublished works of the late African American writer Delores Phillips. Born in Cartersville, Georgia in 1950, Delores Faye Phillips spent much of her childhood in Georgia before moving to Cleveland, Ohio. Best known for her 2004 novel The Darkest Child, which follows the Quinn family as they attempt to survive and escape racism, lynchings, and poverty in Jim Crow Georgia during the 1950s, Phillips wrote much more than that. While the novel was met with critical acclaim, little is known about Phillips herself or about her other writings. Indeed, in the 2018 reissue of The Darkest Child, Tayari Jones remarks in the introduction that when she heard Phillips had passed away in 2014, she was “weighted down with longing for the other books that she would never write.”
This volume, then, corrects the misconception that The Darkest Child was Phillips’s only published work. Rather, it establishes her as an experienced and prolific writer who created multi-genre literature throughout her life. It paints a broader picture of Phillips, who was not just a novelist but also a poet and short story writer as well. Just as Alice Walker’s recovery work on Zora Neale Hurston in the 1970s was critical to a revival and appreciation of Hurston as “a genius of the South,” Stumbling Blocks illuminates and expands the legacy of an underrepresented writer who is uniquely situated at the intersections of multiple identities including race, gender, disability, and region.
In addition to the sequel to The Darkest Child, this collection also includes an unfinished third novel (No Ordinary Rain), ten poems, seven short stories, contextualizing essays, and an in-depth biography of Phillips. It is also bookended by a foreword from Phillips’s sister, Linda Miller, and an afterword from Trudier Harris.
|Publisher||University of Georgia Press|
|Author||Delia Steverson, Delores Phillips, Linda Miller, Trudier Harris|
|Publication Date||Oct 14, 2023|