Essie Chambers, in conversation with Monica West, discusses Swift River

Essie Chambers

It's the summer of 1987 in Swift River, and Diamond Newberry is learning how to drive. Ever since her Pop disappeared seven years ago, she and her mother hitchhike everywhere they go. But that's not the only reason Diamond stands out: she's teased relentlessly about her weight, and since Pop's been gone, she is the only Black person in all of Swift River. This summer, Ma is determined to declare Pop legally dead so that they can collect his life insurance money, get their house back from the bank, and finally move on.

But when Diamond receives a letter from a relative she's never met, key elements of Pop's life are uncovered, and she is introduced to two generations of African American Newberry women, whose lives span the 20th century and reveal a much larger picture of prejudice and abandonment, of love and devotion. As pieces of their shared past become clearer, Diamond gains a sense of her place in the world and in her family. But how will what she's learned of the past change her future?

A story of first friendships, family secrets, and finding the courage to let go, Swift River is a sensational debut about how history shapes us and heralds the arrival of a major new literary talent. (Simon & Schuster)

Monica West Bio: Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Monica West received her BA from Duke University, her MA from New York University, and her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she was a Rona Jaffe Graduate Fellow. She was a Southern Methodist University Kimbilio Fellow in 2014, and a Hedgebrook Writer in Residence in 2021. Revival Season is her first novel.

Event date: 
Friday, June 28, 2024 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Book Soup
8818 Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Event Type: 
Swift River By Essie Chambers Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781668027912
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - June 4th, 2024