Authors / Debut Authors / Five in Bloom

FIVE in BLOOM: Spring Bloomers 2021

by Sam Florsheim and Max LoSardo

Here are five exciting Bloomer Spring publications — an award winning and diverse collection of novels, essays, and memoirs.

Jennifer Dupee lives just outside of Boston with her family — she is one of three fraternal triplets. A lifelong passion for old, historical homes inspired her to write The Little French Bridal Shop, her debut novel. 

Dupee is also a member of Grub Street, and has had short work published in The Feminist Press. She was a semi-finalist for both the 2016 James Jones First Novel Fellowship and the 2016 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition.

The Little French Bridal Shop follows the life of Larisa Pearl, a young woman who returns to her small town in Massachusetts to help manage her great aunt’s estate. After spotting a beautiful wedding gown in the window of a bridal shop, Larisa begins to plan a fictional wedding for herself. 

Early reviews for the novel have praised Dupee’s writing, with Booklist calling it “a compelling debut that deftly explores love and grief.” Dupee has had a knack for reading and writing ever since she was young, and her prose is often centered around the human experience, drawing images and portrayals aimed to resonate with readers. On her website, Dupee explains how her writing is meant “to make you laugh, cry, and think a little more deeply about the world and the people around you.”

Robert Jones, Jr., is a writer and social justice advocate living in New York City. He received an MFA in Creative Fiction from Brooklyn College and has written for publications such as The New York Times and the Paris Review. He is also the creator of the social justice community Son of Baldwin, and was recently featured in The Times’ T Magazine’s cover story, “Black Male Writers for Our Time.” 

Jones’ debut novel, The Prophets, follows a romantic relationship between Isaiah and Samuel, two enslaved young men on a Southern plantation. In an interview with The New York Times, Jones describes how during his education, he struggled to find any instance of “genuine attraction between Black men” in the world of Black literature. He longed to portray a relationship like this in realistic, straightforward terms, rather than hiding these feelings and emotions “between the lines” of his writing. 

The New York Times praised Jones’ novel as an “often lyrical and rebellious love story embedded within a tender call-out to Black readers, reaching across time and form to shake something old, mighty in the blood.”

Te-Ping Chen is a fiction writer and journalist who has had work published in The New Yorker and Tin House. She is currently working as a Wall Street Journal correspondent and lives in Philadelphia.

As a journalist, Chen was previously based in Beijing and Hong Kong. Her years of experience working as a reporter in China inspired her to write her debut book, Land of Big Numbers, a story collection which offers a vivid portrait of modern day China and the people who live there. 

Chen’s stories, which feature a multitude of fictional characters who live in modern day China, track through Chinese history and politics, flipping back and forth between realism and magical realism, the past and the present. The stories presented in this collection cohere into a vivid and defining portrait of Chinese identity. Advance buzz has hailed the collection as “stirring… brilliant,” (Elle) and “immensely rewarding” (Charles Yu). 

Diane Wilson is a writer from Shafer, Minnesota. She is the executive director of the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance, a national coalition of tribes working to create sovereign food systems for Native people. She has previously published a memoir, Spirit Car: Journey to a Dakota Past, and a nonfiction book, Beloved Child: A Dakota Way of Life. They were awarded the Minnesota Book Award and the Barbara Sudler Award, respectively. In 2018, she was named a 50 Over 50 awardee by Pollen/Midwest.

Her first novel, The Seed Keeper, follows the bookish Rosalie Iron Wing. She has grown up in the woods with her father Ray, a former scientist, until one day he does not return from checking his traps. Rosalie is sent to live with a foster family and strikes up a friendship with Gaby Makespeace—one that forces them to face of their complicated legacies. 

Decades later, Rosalie returns home. A widow and a mother, Rosalie takes comfort in her childhood garden as her farm is at risk from a drought and a chemical company. Linda LeGarde Grover calls The Seed Keeper “A gracefully told story of continuity through seeds saved and nurtured by Dakota women… a read that feeds heart and spirit in the same way as do the gardens that are their legacy.” 

Anjali Enjeti is a writer, former attorney, organizer, and journalist based near Atlanta, Georgia.  She teaches creative writing in the MFA program at Reinhardt University. Her writing has appeared in Harper’s, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Washington Post, Al Jazeera, The Nation, and elsewhere. Her work has received awards from the South Asian Journalists Association and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. 

A collection of twenty essays, Southbound begins with a ten-year-old Enjeti’s move from a Detroit suburb to Chattanooga. The shock of the Deep South inspired Enjeti to understand how identity can shape and inspire a commitment to activism. She confronts being a mixed-race brown girl in a mostly white town—not only writing about being racially targeted as a child, but about her own complicity in white supremacy and bigotry as an adult.

Southbound casts a wide scope, ranging from feminism, to the AIDS epidemic, to the rise of nationalism.  Enjeti also writes about voter suppression—she has been working to get out the vote since 2017, first with Georgia’s Asian American and Pacific Islander community, then by founding the Georgia chapter of They See Blue, an organization for South Asian Democrats.

Southbound is a potent tonic for our times—ambitious in its scope and refreshing in its candor,” Lacy Johnson writes. “These are fiercely intelligent essays that examine the complexities of how power works on, through, and maybe even for us. Recommended reading for anyone interested in doing the same.”

Sam Florsheim is a writer and barista from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, currently living in Brooklyn. He has worked for HBO and various online music publications. In addition to writing, his other pursuits include photography, graphic design, and post production. Instagram: @samflorsh Twitter: @samflorshei

Max LoSardo is a writer from New York. He is a producer at Soho Radio NYC and a contributor for DailyKnicks.com. Twitter: @mlosa_

Photo by David Bartus from pexels.com

One thought on “FIVE in BLOOM: Spring Bloomers 2021

  1. Pingback: Five In Bloom – Sam Florsheim

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