Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Thursday 23 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Pio of Pietrelcina
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

Edward P. Jones, whose fiction features black Catholics, receives national honor


Howard County Library System | Flickr CC by NC ND 2.0

Zelda Caldwell - published on 03/14/19

The author was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The author Edward P. Jones, whose fiction highlights the lives of black Catholics, joins an elite group of writers, artists and musicians with his induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Jones is the author of the short story collections Lost in the City (1992) and  All Aunt Hagar’s Children (2006) and the Pulitzer-prize winning novel The Known World (2003), which tells the story of a former slave who, upon being freed, purchases slaves to work for him.

Raised in Washington, D.C., Jones is a 1972 graduate of College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he first began writing fiction. It was there that he read Dubliners, a collection of short stories by James Joyce, and was inspired to write “Lost in the City,” about his hometown of Washington, D.C

Of Jones’ most recent collection of stories, All Aunt Hagar’s Children, Eve Tushnet wrote that Catholicism provides the setting for his fiction:

The stories aren’t linked by anything other than their setting: black D.C., mostly black Catholic D.C., from the late 19th century to the latter half of the 20th. These people are farmers and porters whose children will be doctors and nurses. Both the poorer and the richer ends of the family are treated with equal respect, even reverence. There are certain recurring situations: men’s mistreatment of women, and how women respond to that or choose not to respond; the slow drifting-apart of marriages (and remarriages, and re-re-remarriages); the in breaking of the supernatural or possibly-supernatural. This last element is basically superstitious rather than religious. Catholicism is an identity, an institution, more a feature of the outer landscape than the inner landscape of the heart.

As a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Jones joins the writers Henry James, Edith Wharton, Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Pearl S. Buck, John Updike and Willa Cather.

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
Our Lady of La Salette
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady of La Salette can give us hope in darkness
Philip Kosloski
An alternative Hail Mary to Our Lady of Sorrows
Philip Kosloski
Pray this Psalm when you successfully recover from an illness
Cecilia Pigg
7 Ways the saints can help you sleep better at night
Philip Kosloski
Your body is not a “shell” for your spirit
Philip Kosloski
Why do some Eastern Catholics use spoons for Holy Communion?
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.