Jocelyn Nicole Johnson
Award-Winning Author and Teacher

Jocelyn Nicole Johnson is the author of My Monticello, a fiction debut that was called “a masterly feat” by the New York Times. The book won the Weatherford Award, the Balcones Fiction Prize, the Lillian Smith Award, and the Library of Virginia Fiction Award. Johnson’s debut also placed in many Best-Of lists. Those lists include People Magazine, and TIME’s top ten fiction books of the year. In addition, as well as being a finalist for the Kirkus Fiction Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Leonard Award, the LA Times Debut Seidenbaum Prize, and long-listed for a Pen/Faulkner Fiction Award and the Story Prize.

Furthermore, Johnson served as a fellow at Tin House, Hedgebrook, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Her writing has appeared in Guernica, The Guardian, Literary Hub, Kweli Journal, and elsewhere. Her provocative story “Control Negro” was anthologized in The Best American Short Stories. Roxane Gay guest edited the anthology and LeVar Burton read Johnson’s story live.

As a public-school art teacher, Jocelyn Nicole Johnson has addressed young people and community members in classrooms and auditoriums. Since transitioning to writing full time, her reach has extended to historic sites, campuses, conference halls, libraries, and more. Johnson Johnson has appeared on PBS and Good Morning America. Her debut has been a powerful community read at both at the secondary and university level, as well as a Route 1 Read. Johnson lives and writes in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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Henry Holt and Co.

Tough-minded, vulnerable, and brave, Jocelyn Nicole Johnson’s precisely imagined debut explores burdened inheritances and extraordinary pursuits of belonging. Set in the near future, the eponymous novella, “My Monticello,” tells of a diverse group of Charlottesville neighbors fleeing violent white supremacists.

“Outsider Stories Could Save Us” Drawing from her experience of writing in the aftermath of a deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, author Jocelyn Nicole Johnson explores the utility and hope that can be found in stories that challenge us and offer myriad perspectives. Johnson makes the case that outsider voices can hasten and edify us, inoculate us from fracture, and quite possibly save us. In Conversation with Jocelyn Nicole Johnson Johnson can speak with a conversation partner or interviewer about becoming an author, the writerly life, crafting stories, and/or the stories as resistance, reclamation, and hope.

Read about Jocelyn Johnson speaking about identity, home, and her new book, My Monticello, on NPR

Jocelyn Nicole Johnson Makes Virginia’s Past Present in ‘My Monticello.’  for The New York Times 

‘My Monticello’ explores America’s racist past — and present — with grace for The Washington Post

My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson review – an American tragedy for The Guardian

UVA Engagements Program hosts Jocelyn Nicole Johnson for inaugural event

My Monticello on the Times 100 Must-Read Books List

"Jocelyn Johnson is a revelation! At our MLK Celebration this year, Jocelyn gave a message grounded in her personal experience, supported by meticulous research, delivered with warmth and vulnerability, and sprinkled with self-deprecating humor. Her speech was a fitting honor to Dr. King and a bracing challenge to carry forward his dream of Beloved Community. Invite Jocelyn to speak and be prepared for a transformative experience!"
-Rev. Dr. Michael Cheuk, Volunteer Coordinator for the Charlottesville Clergy Collective, and Assistant Director of Beloved Community Cville.

"Jocelyn Johnson was one of the best speakers we have ever hosted and was a pleasure to work with. Jocelyn worked with our team to understand our interests and needs for the event which contributed to an excellent outcome. Her preparation and commitment to excellence was palpable. Her conversations with students and the community were thoughtful, and engaging."
-Michele Tracy Berger, Director, Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities, Case Western Reserve University

"Jocelyn was outstanding... and every student I've spoken with felt as if she was talking directly to them. [Her ability to] use her stories to both connect with students and emphasize the importance of writing and reading outsider stories was magical."
-Cynthia Roenisch (English department and event organizer, Alameda High School outside of San Francisco)

“During [her] talk at Monticello... Johnson proved to be a a stirring keynote speaker with expertise in a variety of the most pressing and relevant topics of the day: history and memory, creative writing and inspiration, and the significance of people and place to the still-unfolding story of the United States in all its complications, contradictions, and promise."
-Andrew Davenport Public Historian and Manager of the Getting Word Project

"..[Moderating an event] with Jocelyn Nicole Johnson was one of the most riveting and eye-opening conversations I've experienced....Drawing from her fictional worlds as well as her life experience as an educator, Jocelyn deftly guides audiences to new depths, and always with joy.”
--Adam Nemett Author of We Can Save Us All

“{Johnson] offers such refreshing and uncontrived answers [that] connect, once again, to what is meaningful”
-Professor Erica Cavanaugh Creative Writing Program Chair, African American & Diaspora Studies Faculty, James Madison University