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The Revisioners

A Novel

List Price: $25.00

November 5, 2019 | Hardcover | 5.5 x 8.25, 288 pages  | ISBN 9781640092587
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Following her National Book Award– nominated debut novel, A Kind of Freedom, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton returns with this equally elegant and historically inspired story of survivors and healers, of black women and their black sons, set in the American South

In 1924, Josephine is the proud owner of a thriving farm. As a child, she channeled otherworldly power to free herself from slavery. Now her new neighbor, a white woman named Charlotte, seeks her company, and an uneasy friendship grows between them. But Charlotte has also sought solace in the Ku Klux Klan, a relationship that jeopardizes Josephine’s family.

Nearly one hundred years later, Josephine’s descendant, Ava, is a single mother who has just lost her job. She moves in with her white grandmother, Martha, a wealthy but lonely woman who pays Ava to be her companion. But Martha’s behavior soon becomes erratic, then threatening, and Ava must escape before her story and Josephine’s converge.

The Revisioners explores the depths of women’s relationships—powerful women and marginalized women, healers and survivors. It is a novel about the bonds between mothers and their children, the dangers that upend those bonds. At its core, The Revisioners ponders generational legacies, the endurance of hope, and the undying promise of freedom.

About Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

MARGARET WILKERSON SEXTON, born and raised in New Orleans, studied creative writing at Dartmouth College and law at UC Berkeley. Her debut novel, A Kind of Freedom, was long-listed for the National Book Award and the Northern California Book Award, won the Crook’s Corner Book Prize, and was the recipient of the First Novelist Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family. Find out more at


Praise for The Revisioners

One of O, The Oprah Magazine’s Buzziest Books Coming Out This Year
Electric Literature, 1 of 48 Books by Women and Nonbinary Authors of Color to Read in 2019

“I was mesmerized by The Revisioners, a time-bending epic about family, desire, strength, and terror, as well as the possibly supernatural power of the stories we tell ourselves. Was mesmerized? Am mesmerized, will remain mesmerized. Sexton’s novel is extraordinary, and its effects will go on and on.” —R. O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries

“This elegant and powerful novel sweeps you up from the very first page, spanning the last gasps of slavery to the present day. The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton plunges you deep within the complexity of a Louisiana family as the echoes of history repeat over generations and provides a powerful testament to the ingenuity and resilience of women protecting themselves and those they love in an unyielding world.” —Lalita Tademy, New York Times bestselling author of Cane RiverRed River, and Citizens Creek

“Margaret Wilkerson Sexton’s writing is graceful and stylish, her truths relevant and necessary—it’s just so exhilarating to read her. I was mesmerized by The Revisioners, an impeccable novel of magic, loss, and family, all anchored by generations of powerful women.” —Jami Attenberg, author of All Grown Up

“Margaret Wilkerson Sexton has done it again with The Revisioners, where ties beyond family bind us to the past. A novel as beautiful as it is hauntingly dazzling, it’s filmic in scope and sensory detail.” —Nafissa Thompson-Spires, author of Heads of the Colored People

“I read this wonderful novel nearly in a single sitting, carried along by its exemplary pacing and structure, its rich cast of characters, and its deft explorations of trauma, cruelty, survival, and love. Written in a haunted present and a past that’s not past, The Revisioners honors the living and the lost in a painful, tender testament to the power of fiction.” —Lydia Kiesling, author of The Golden State

“Margaret Wilkerson Sexton’s The Revisioners is a tribute, a prayer, a triumphant cry of gratitude to those who came before us. The intergenerational memories and desire for freedom and survival push Ava forward when things get hard. Moving into her grandmother’s house with her son seems to be a temporary fix, but she has no idea the legacy she has inherited. The Revisioners honors with reverence the histories of those who had no voice.” —Rachel Watkins, bookseller at Avid Bookshop (Athens, GA)

The Revisioners is a multigenerational story that spans more than 150 years, tracing the ancestral connection between contemporary mother Ava and her several times great-grandmother, Josephine. Ava is a single mother who moves in with her grandmother, a white woman, whose son, Ava’s father, has been largely absent from her life due to Ava’s tenuous position as his biracial child. The tensions between Ava and her grandmother are mirrored through the story of Josephine, a woman who was born enslaved but who is able, alongside her husband, to slowly buy their own land. Ava is connected to the women in her family through her ability to nurture, particularly her desire to become a doula, a gifted spiritual guide in the process of childbirth. Sexton weaves a powerful tale exploring the meaning of motherhood in the face of treacherous and undeniable obstacles, whether they be the desire for freedom in pre–Civil War Louisiana, the violence of the Klan in the post–Red Summer South, or the difficult navigation of identity in a very much not postracial America. Sexton’s novel is a testament to the unique strengths of women and their determination to leave a lineage that lasts.” —Morgan McComb, The Raven Book Store (Lawrence, KS)

Praise for A Kind of Freedom

Long-listed for the National Book Award in Fiction

Named a Best Book of the Year by San Francisco Chronicle, BBC Culture, Southern Living, Chicago Public Library, PureWow, and East Bay Express

“This luminous and assured first novel shines an unflinching, compassionate light on three generations of a black family in New Orleans, emphasizing endurance more than damage.” —The New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice

“This moving debut is ingeniously told in its passage back and forth through lives and changing times.” —The Washington Post

“As tragic as it is necessary. Each character is compelling and nuanced, making the reader all the more sorry to leave them at book’s end.” —Shondaland

“Sad, proud, provocative and quietly educational, with dialogue that credibly spans 70 years of black New Orleans vernacular, A Kind of Freedom begs for a screen adaptation. You wait and see.” —Newsday

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