Destiny O. Birdsong
Destiny O. Birdsong is a Louisiana-born poet, essayist, and fiction writer whose work has either appeared or is forthcoming in the Paris Review Daily, Poets & Writers, Catapult, The Best American Poetry 2021, and elsewhere. Her debut poetry collection, Negotiations, was published by Tin House Books in October 2020 and was longlisted for the 2021 PEN/Voelcker Award. Her debut novel, Nobody’s Magic, was published by Grand Central in February 2022.
9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
State Capitol, House Committee Room 2
Debut Novels by Seasoned Authors
with Destiny O. Birdsong, Eli Cranor, Olivia Friedman, Kelly Mustian, and moderator Megan Holt
11:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
Cavalier House Bookselling Tent
2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Capitol Park Event Center, Meeting Room
Louisiana Poets with a Special Guest
with David Armand, Felice Belle, Destiny O. Birdsong, Johnette Downing, Dean Thomas Ellis, Ashley Mace Havird, Sunni Patterson, and moderator Mona Lisa Saloy
3:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Cavalier House Booksellers Tent
Nobody's Magic: A Novel
“The magic here is not the supernatural kind, but rather an attention to the grace of the ordinary. It is the magic of watching these women come into their power.”—New York Times
A GMA Buzz Pick!
A Most Anticipated Book by Essence · The Millions · Atlantic Journal Constitution · Glamour · Teen Vogue · Bustle · BookPage · Nashville Scene · Ms. Magazine · Parnassus Musing
A Best Book of February by Washington Post · Nylon · BookRiot
In this glittering triptych novel, Suzette, Maple and Agnes, three Black women with albinism, call Shreveport, Louisiana home. At the bustling crossroads of the American South and Southwest, these three women find themselves at the crossroads of their own lives.
Suzette, a pampered twenty-year‑old, has been sheltered from the outside world since a dangerous childhood encounter. Now, a budding romance with a sweet mechanic allows Suzette to seek independence, which unleashes dark reactions in those closest to her. In discovering her autonomy, Suzette is forced to decide what she is willing to sacrifice in order to make her own way in the world.
Maple is reeling from the unsolved murder of her free‑spirited mother. She flees the media circus and her judgmental grandmother by shutting herself off from the world in a spare room of the motel where she works. One night, at a party, Maple connects with Chad, someone who may understand her pain more than she realizes, and she discovers that the key to her mother's death may be within her reach.
Agnes is far from home, working yet another mind‑numbing job. She attracts the interest of a lonely security guard and army veteran who’s looking for a traditional life for himself and his young son. He’s convinced that she wields a certain “magic,” but Agnes soon unleashes a power within herself that will shock them both and send her on a trip to confront not only her family and her past, but also herself.
This novel, told in three parts, is a searing meditation on grief, female strength, and self‑discovery set against a backdrop of complicated social and racial histories. Nobody's Magic is a testament to the power of family—the ones you're born in and the ones you choose. And in these three narratives, among the yearning and loss, each of these women may find a seed of hope for the future.
"Full of wonder." ―Elizabeth Acevedo
A Best Book of the Year at BuzzFeed, Refinery29, and Entropy Magazine
What makes a self? In her remarkable debut collection of poems, Destiny O. Birdsong writes fearlessly towards this question. Laced with ratchetry, yet hungering for its own respectability, Negotiations is about what it means to live in this America, about Cardi B and top-tier journal publications, about autoimmune disease and the speaker’s intense hunger for her own body―a surprise of self-love in the aftermath of both assault and diagnosis. It’s a series of love letters to black women, who are often singled out for abuse and assault, silencing and tokenism, fetishization and cultural appropriation in ways that throw the rock, then hide the hand. It is a book about tenderness and an indictment of people and systems that attempt to narrow black women’s lives, their power. But it is also an examination of complicity―both a narrative and a black box warning for a particular kind of self-healing that requires recognizing culpability when and where it exists.
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