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Panoramic, Intimate ‘Coleman Hill’ Captivates Readers and SJP

Panoramic, Intimate ‘Coleman Hill’ Captivates Readers and SJP
Author Kim Coleman Foote photo by Sara Abbaspour & and SJP Lit maven, Sarah Jessica Parker photo by Andrew Day

As the tyranny of Jim Crow loomed, the Great Migration of black people from the South to northern states launched in the early 20th century. While the period and its significance may not be as emblazoned on the American psyche as, say, the Trail of Tears, the inhospitability of each reveal a great deal about our culture. Historical fiction is a gift that can lead readers to scholarly texts to research context surrounding events and eras in the our nation’s growth.

SJP Lit is an imprint founded by actress Sarah Jessica Parker. We love the name. It signals literature, while also playfully implying that books are what lights Parker up – or in the current vernacular, makes her “lit.” The imprint recently released a since critically acclaimed book about seven generations of a family before, during, and after the significant shift in an American population: The Great Migration.   – Editor

When you hear the name Sarah Jessica Parker, movies and TV shows probably come to mind. Parker is a household name thanks to pop-culture standards like Sex and the City, Hocus Pocus, and Footloose. The popular actress’s newest project, however, is a different kind of venture – an imprint of Molly Stern’s publishing house Zando.

In 2022, Parker launched SJP Lit, which will publish between four and six books over three years. An avid reader since childhood, Parker has stated that some of her earliest memories were of reading and that her go-to activity between takes on film and TV sets is to pick up a book.

This September, SJP Lit published Kim Coleman Foote‘s Coleman Hill. The novel is a poignant reflection across several generations of the intertwined Coleman and Grimes families during the Northern Migration from Alabama and Florida to New Jersey, detailing grief, love and cultural shifts over decades. By using the narration of characters across decades, Foote perfectly illustrates the unraveling of abuse and connection between parents, children, and siblings, while providing a history lesson on the contrast between the remnants of Southern slavery and the price of starting over in the North.

In 1916, during the early days of the Great Migration, Celia Coleman and Lucy Grimes flee the racism and poverty of their homes in the post–Civil War South for the “Promised Land” of Vauxhall, New Jersey. But the North possesses its own challenges and bigotries that will shape the fates of the women and their families over the next 70 years.

Told through the voices of nine family members, Coleman Hill is a multigenerational debut that draws from Foote’s own family legend. As Foote told The Provincetown Independent, “When you forget parts of history, patterns repeat themselves. This goes for the great human tragedies as much as for intergenerational trauma within families.”

The book is, “At once intimate and panoramic,” according to SJP.

Read More at Deep South Magazine

About The Source

Deep South Magazine

Deep South is an online dose of Southern hospitality – anytime, anywhere. Through stories on travel, dining, shopping, and events, as well as a “Southern Voice” literary section, Deep South helps readers rediscover their South, while looking back on the history and traditions that got us to where we are today.

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