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Blog 05.27.2019

Rising Stars for 2019

Finding success as an author takes patience as much as talent. In 2018, the world saw many fresh faces make the leap into mainstream such as Tomi Adeyemi who sold her debut novel for seven figures or Akwaeke Emezi whose first book brought a deal for two more. 2019 promises to be just as exciting. Consider three rising stars worth a trip to the bookstore.

1. Chanelle Benz

Already well-known for her short story writing, Memphis author Chanelle Benz introduces her first full-scale novel to the world this June. “The Gone Dead” allows Chanelle to showcase her gritty and somewhat violent writing on a much larger scale.

After 30 years, Billie James returns to the shack in the Mississippi Delta she inherited once upon a time from her father. She hears a local rumor that states she went missing right after her father’s death. While investigating, she finds a piece of her past that puts her in jeopardy.

“Beautifully written throughout… Enthralling… Recalling Lalita Tademy’s Cane River, this work will appeal to lovers of African American, Southern, and historical fiction.” – Library Journal review

2. Maurice Carlos Ruffin

Ruffin’s debut novel “We Cast a Shadow” is said to be one of the most anticipated releases of 2019. This dystopian satire hit the shelves in January and is already seeing positive reviews. The National Public Radio states that Ruffin mirrors the prose of Ralph Ellison, deploying a dark sense of humor while writing with a straight face. Not an easy book to read according to NPR’s reviews because it takes a sobering look at race in a fictional world very similar to America.

“It’s a razor-sharp debut from an urgent new voice in fiction, and a warning about what the future could hold for America and for the world.” – National Radio Review

3. Rion Amilcar Scott

Already an award-winning author, Rion Amilcar Scoot introduces his breakthrough novel “The World Doesn’t Require You” in August 2019. Scott won the PEN American Robert W. Bingham Award for Debut Fiction for his short story collection titled “Insurrections.”

In his second effort, Scott creates a fictional county in Maryland that is home to the only successful slave revolt. This inventive narrative is the haunting tale of stories coming from this region of Maryland, ones that explore love, violence, and religion. “The World Doesn’t Require You” is listed on one of Esquire’s most anticipated books of 2019.

4. Karen Hamilton

Thriller and chiller fans unite — ‘The Perfect Girlfriend,” the debut novel for author Karen Hamilton, is a real relationship killer. Entertainment Weekly calls it a “twisted page-turner.” The story is about a flight attendant with a little stalking problem. “The Perfect Girlfriend” will make you see your exes in a different light.

2019 promises to be a great year for novels. Whether you love a hardcover book or prefer your words in digital format, make this the year you read more than ever.


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