- Author Bio
For readers of Colson Whitehead, James McBride, Yaa Gyasi and Lawrence Hill, Up From Freedom is a powerful and emotional novel about the dangers that arise when we stay silent in the face of prejudice or are complicit in its development.
As a young man, Virgil Moody vowed he would never be like his father, he would never own slaves. When he moves from his father’s plantation in Savannah to New Orleans, he takes with him Annie, a tiny woman with sharp eyes and a sharper tongue, who he is sure would not survive life on the plantation. She’ll be much safer with him, away from his father’s cruelty. And when he discovers Annie’s pregnancy, already a few months along, he is all the more certain that he made the right decision.
As the years pass, the divide between Moody’s assumptions and Annie’s reality widens ever further. Moody even comes to think of Annie as his wife and Lucas as their son. Of course, they are not. As Annie reminds him, in moments of anger, she and Moody will never be equal. She and her son are enslaved. When their “family” breaks apart in the most brutal and tragic way, and Lucas flees the only life he’s ever known, Moody must ask himself whether he has become the man he never wanted to be—but is he willing to hear the answer?
Stretching from the war-torn banks of the Rio Brazos in Texas to the muddy waters of Freedom, Indiana, Moody travels through a country on the brink of civil war, relentlessly searching for Lucas and slowly reconciling his past sins with his hopes for the future. When he meets Tamsey, a former slave, and her family trying to escape the reach of the Fugitive Slave Act, Moody sees an opportunity for redemption. But the world is on the cusp of momentous change, and though some things may be forgotten, nothing is ever really forgiven.
Story Locale: Texas and Indiana
AN ESSENTIAL CONVERSATION: Up From Freedom is a powerful and emotional novel about the dangers that arise when we stay silent in the face of prejudice or are complicit in its development. These issues are as urgently relevant today as they have been throughout history, and this novel asks questions that can help readers discuss these topics further.
CRITICAL AND COMMERCIAL SUCCESS: Wayne’s first novel garnered rave reviews, won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and was a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of the Year. We can build on his success with this novel that is just as compelling as his last.
PERSONAL HISTORY: In the same way that Wayne explored his parents’ backgrounds and relationship in Emancipation Day, he traces his father’s family’s roots here.
Marketing: • Digital advertising campaign
• Extensive promotion on social media
• Targeted galley mailing
• Book club guide
Pre-pub promotion on Goodreads, BookRiot and Shelf Awareness
ARCs giveaway at BEA
Advance mailing to trade publications including Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist and Kirkus Reviews
Target long lead outlets such as Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire, People and Entertainment Weekly for review coverage
National media attention including NPR and print features in outlets such as the New York Times, USA Today, Boston Globe
Online interviews, reviews, and literary blog coverage with LitHub, Read It Forward and the Millions
Podcast promotion on BookRiot
Publicity: Canada Preliminary Plans:
National radio coverage
Extensive review coverage
National magazine coverage
Multi-city author tour
Extensive blogger outreach
Author Website: www.waynegrady.ca
Author Social Media: Facebook: @wayne.grady.92
Praise for Emancipation Day:
“Grady uses his skills to keep his prose quiet, spacious and neat, showing us how his characters navigate racial politics without telling us what to think about it…. Emancipation Day is an engaging look at when and where true co-existence and polite tolerance dissolve into prejudice and power struggle. That’s a fully contemporary issue, and one that’s entirely Canadian.” —The Globe and Mail
“It is a startling book, one that will likely be celebrated come awards season.” —National Post
“A stellar debut. This literary novel is set in the heart of the big-band era…. The music swings. So does the story. Though Grady portrays the complexities of race and racial politics, there’s nothing overtly didactic here. It’s a novel of ideas that succeeds precisely because it’s also a good story.” —Winnipeg Free Press
“A masterwork of storytelling examining race relations, denial and misconceptions, and what they do to three generations of a family. Grady does not tie things up in a neat bundle for the reader here. Like life itself, Emancipation Day is gritty, messy, surprising and poignant.”—Telegraph Journal