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Read For Fun: Heads of the Colored People (F2019 FY Reads)

'23 Reads: Heads of the Colored People

Heads of the Colored People - jacketHeads of the Colored People: Stories by Nafissa Thompson-Spires

These stories examine the concept of black identity in this so-called post-racial era. The author grapples with black identity and the contemporary middle class in these vignettes. Some are darkly humorous--from two mothers exchanging snide remarks through notes in their kids' backpacks, to the young girl contemplating how best to notify her Facebook friends of her impending suicide--while others are devastatingly poignant--a new mother and funeral singer who is driven to madness with grief for the young black boys who have fallen victim to gun violence, or the teen who struggles between her upper middle class upbringing and her desire to fully connect with black culture. --Publisher's description


The First-Year Common Reading Program is sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Division of College Life. 

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About the author

Nafissa Thompson-SpiresNafissa D. Thompson-Spires is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Illinois. Her research interests include fiction writing, television studies, and 20th century American literature. In her own words: "In my fiction, I consider what it means to be a (black)subject in an era of alleged postracialism, particularly when gender, technology, and disability intersect with racial identity. In my research, I examine how television series -- especially youth series -- circulate internationally and come to define cultural aesthetics, approaches to multiculturalism, and models of didacticism." 

Thompson-Spires' stories have been published in The Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal, Story Quarterly, East Bay Review, The Feminist Wire, and more.

You can find her on Twitter at @TisforThompson

Photo by Daryl Wilson / for the Chicago Tribune

About the First-Year Common Reading Program

Goals of the First-Year Common Reading Program:

  • Provide a common intellectual experience for first-year students.
  • Foster a sense of community among first-year students, faculty and staff.
  • Promote dialogue across disciplines on themes related to diversity, equity and inclusion, and internationalization.


Scheduled events:

  • Common Read Presentation. Author Nafissa Thompson-Spires will present a lecture on Tuesday, September 24, 2019 at 7:00 pm in the CUB Ballroom. This event is open to the public.

Nafissa Thompson-Spires on Late Night with Seth Meyers