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Heads of the Colored People


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A satirical and daring collection of short stories exploring black life from one of America's rising stars

About the Author

Nafissa Thompson-Spires is a prize-winning short story writer. She earned a PhD in English from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Illinois. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The White Review, the Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly, StoryQuarterly, Lunch Ticket and The Feminist Wire, among other publications. She is a 2016 participant of the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, a 2017 Tin House workshopee, and a 2017 Sewanee Writers Conference Stanley Elkin Scholar. Born in San Diego, California, she now lives in Illinois with her husband where she is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and African American studies at the University of Illinois.


Outstanding... Smart, witty and so very well written * Roxane Gay *
The level of detail that goes into each of Nafissa Thompson-Spires's sentences is astonishing, and the worlds that she can create in just a few words are mind-blowing. Ready yourself for this collection. It will change the way you look at writing, and at how you see things -- Candice Carty-Williams
The kind of collection that makes you shake your head in delight. Her voice is fresh-laundry-clean: I have not read anything like it in years. The prose is cunning. It appears simple, but the overall effect is powerful. Her stories feel simultaneously like the poke of a stick and a comforting balm; a smack followed by a kiss. I'm so into it. -- Bim Adewunmi * Guardian *
Vivid, fast, funny, way-smart, and verbally inventive, these stories by the vastly talented Thompson-Spires create a compelling surface tension made of equal parts scepticism towards human nature and intense fondness of it. Located on the big questions, they are full of heart -- George Saunders
Every so often, a voice comes along that knocks you sideways; this debut collection of short stories was one such moment. From the first page there's an electricity and freshness to the voice that grabbed hold of me and wouldn't let me go -- Andrew McMillan * Observer *

Thompson-Spires' stories are dark, have a cutting sense of humour, and are entertaining and essential
-- Sarah Shaffi * Stylist *
[Thompson-Spires] writes satire of the Paul Beatty school, her humour as daring as it is disarming. This is a firecracker of a book, sizzling with politics, but it's also a triumph of storytelling: intelligent, acerbic and ingenious -- Lucy Scholes * Financial Times *
Witty, mischievous... These coolly ironic and grimly funny tales brim with snap and verve, and this is a debut collection of daring and aplomb -- Colin Grant * The Guardian *
Her electric style is extrovert, erudite and hugely entertaining, despite the often grim subject matter... Thompson-Spires invigoratingly hits the mark... you end the collection greedy to read whatever is coming next from this unmistakable talent -- Anthony Cummins * The Observer *
Superbly witty... The topics she takes on are often deadly serious, but every story flashes grim humor. She is also a brutally sharp observer -- Janet Maslin * New York Times *
[Thompson-Spires] writes with complete control, building a story in the precise shape of her anger. Her sentences intertwine and double back on themselves, and each one stings -- Lois Beckett * Guardian *
Heads of the Colored People is a delightful, disarming, deliciously diabolical collection. Every other page, there's a razor-sharp turn, a surprise that makes you laugh, think, rethink, or shiver * Namwali Serpell, author of The Old Drift *

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