Kimbilio Presents Jacinda Townsend - Mother Country

Thursday, June 2, 6pm CT
In person at the High Low performing arts space
3301 Washington Ave, St. Louis, MO 63103
Kimbilio and Left Bank Books welcome acclaimed & award winning author
Jacinda Townsend,
for a special event to celebrate the release of
Mother Country,
in person at the High Low Listening Room
at 6pm CT on Thursday, June 2nd.
Order a copy of
from Left Bank Books to support authors and independent bookstores!
Kimbilio is a community of writers and scholars committed to developing, empowering and sustaining African American fiction writers and their stories.
Kimbilio® means “safe haven” in Swahili. We are a community of writers and scholars committed to developing, empowering and sustaining fiction writers from the African diaspora and their stories.  Projects include readings, presentations at professional conferences, social media networking, book prizes, and an annual summer retreat for fiction writers who are members of the Kimbilio community.
Jacinda Townsend is the author of Saint Monkey, which won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize and the James Fenimore Cooper Prize. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and teaches in the MFA program at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

A transnational feminist novel about human trafficking and motherhood from an award-winning author.

Saddled with student loans, medical debt, and the sudden news of her infertility after a major car accident, Shannon, an African American woman, follows her boyfriend to Morocco in search of relief. There, in the cobblestoned medina of Marrakech, she finds a toddler in a pink jacket whose face mirrors her own. With the help of her boyfriend and a bribed official, Shannon makes the fateful decision to adopt and raise the girl in Louisville, Kentucky. But the girl already has a mother: Souria, an undocumented Mauritanian woman who was trafficked as a teen, and who managed to escape to Morocco to build another life.

In rendering Souria's separation from her family across vast stretches of desert and Shannon's alienation from her mother under the same roof, Jacinda Townsend brilliantly stages cycles of intergenerational trauma and healing. Linked by the girl who has been a daughter to them both, these unforgettable protagonists move toward their inevitable reckoning. Mother Country is a bone-deep and unsparing portrayal of the ethical and emotional claims we make upon one another in the name of survival, in the name of love.


Review Quotes:

"An intense exploration of gender, race, and class rooted in transnational geopolitics. . . . Townsend's insights into self, motherhood, freedom, and love and her ability to illuminate multiple realities as this complex tale unfolds ensure that this is a gripping and provocative read."--Booklist

"Townsend provides many perspectives on motherhood while addressing potent issues of kidnapping, slavery, rape, abuse, and neglect, and vividly depicting their consequences. Highly recommended." --Library Journal

"[An] impactful story of motherhood, resilience, and belonging. . . . In scenes both vast and intimate, Townsend brings to life the busy streets of Marrakech as well as the quiet suburbs of Kentucky. This moving story about love and loss will not easily be forgotten." --Publishers Weekly

"[Mother Country's] great strengths are the gorgeous prose and deep empathy that Townsend extends to both Souria and Shannon. Her multifaceted portrait of Morocco and insights into American privilege, transnational colorism, and transgenerational trauma elevate what could have been merely a tragic crime story." --Kirkus Reviews

"In Mother Country, Jacinda Townsend delivers on the promise of her debut novel with a tale that braids the trauma and dysfunctions at the root of American entitlement with the daily horror of survival on the other side of the world. The torment of the child-mother, Souria, and her absolute devotion to her daughter, two-year-old Yu, is elegantly spun with descriptions as poetic as they are brutal. Souria's fortitude in the face of tragic deprivation condemns not only the visiting American woman who simply helps herself to Yu as though she were another bite of sweet mkharka at the buffet of a fancy hotel, but the country and people who raised her. In the end, Townsend seems to say, our pain, no matter how great, cannot be mitigated by inflicting damage on others--it must belong entirely to us." --Ru Freeman

High Low
3301 Washington Ave
Saint Louis, MO 63103
Mother Country: A Novel By Jacinda Townsend Cover Image
ISBN: 9781644450871
Availability: On Our Shelves (Note - We update this inventory once per day.)
Published: Graywolf Press - May 3rd, 2022

Water Street (Kentucky Voices) By Crystal Wilkinson, Marianne Worthington (Afterword by), Jacinda Townsend (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Crystal Wilkinson, Marianne Worthington (Afterword by), Jacinda Townsend (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9780813169101
Availability: Ships quickly (1-7 days)
(This book cannot be returned.)
Published: University Press of Kentucky - February 24th, 2017

Saint Monkey: A Novel By Jacinda Townsend Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393350821
Availability: On Our Shelves (Note - We update this inventory once per day.)
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - February 2nd, 2015