Jocelyn Nicole Johnson
Author, Teacher

Jocelyn Nicole Johnson is the author of My Monticello, a fiction debut that was called “a masterly feat” by the New York Times and winner of the Weatherford award and the Lillian Smith award. My Monticello was also a finalist for the Kirkus Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Leonard Prize, the LA Times Art Seidenbaum Prize, and long-listed for the Pen/Faulkner fiction award and the Story Prize. Johnson’s debut showed up on many Best-Of lists from People Magazine to Time’s top ten fiction books of the year. Her short story “Control Negro” was anthologized in The Best American Short Stories, guest edited by Roxane Gay and read live by LeVar Burton. Her titular novella, “My Monticello”, is being adapted for film by Netflix.

Johnson has been a fellow at TinHouse, Hedgebrook, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Her writing appears in Guernica, The Guardian, Joyland, Kweli Journal, and elsewhere. Working as a public-school art teacher in Virginia for 20 years, Johnson has addressed young people and community members in classrooms and auditoriums. Since transitioning to professional writing full time, her reach has extended to historic sites, halls, soundstages and more. 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” What is the value of outsider stories in a time of book-banning and laws limiting speech in public classrooms? 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 diverse voices can hasten and edify us, inoculate us from fracture, and quite possibly save us. In conversation with Jocelyn Nicole Johnson Alternatively, Johnson can speak about becoming a writer, craft, and/or the power of stories with a conversation partner or interviewer

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

“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