Jewell Parker Rhodes

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Jewell Parker Rhodes (born 1954 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is an American novelist.

Rhodes is professor of Creative Writing and American Literature and former Director of the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing at Arizona State University. Rhodes is the Artistic Director for Global Engagement and the Piper Endowed Chair of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University.


Born and raised in Manchester, a largely African-American neighborhood on the North Side of Pittsburgh, she received a Bachelor of Arts in Drama Criticism, a Master of Arts in English, and a Doctor of Arts in English (Creative Writing) from Carnegie Mellon University.

She is the author of six novels: Block Party, Voodoo Dreams, Magic City, Douglass' Women, Voodoo Season, and Yellow Moon; and a memoir, Porch Stories: A Grandmother's Guide to Happiness; a sixth novel, Hurricane Levee Blues, and two children’s novels, Ninth Ward and Sugar.

She has also authored two writing guides: Free Within Ourselves: Fiction Lessons for Black Authors, and The African American Guide to Writing and Publishing Non-Fiction. Her play, Voodoo Dreams; was cited as "Most Innovative" Drama in the 2000-2001 Professional Theater Season by the Arizona Republic and she is currently at work on a theatrical version of Douglass' Women."

Her work has been published in Germany, Italy, Canada, Turkey and the United Kingdom and reproduced in audio and for NPR's "Selected Shorts." Her literary awards include: Yaddo Creative Writing Fellowship, the American Book Award, the National Endowment of the Arts Award in Fiction, the Black Caucus of the American Library Award for Literary Excellence, the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award for Outstanding Writing, two Arizona Book Awards and a finalist citation for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. She has been a featured speaker at the Runnymeade International Literary Festival (University of London-Royal Holloway), Santa Barbara Writers Conference, Creative Nonfiction Writers Conference and Warwick University, among others. "Ninth Ward" has been honored by the American Library Association's 2011 Coretta Scott King Honor Book Award, 2010 Parents Choice Foundation Gold Award, 2010 Al Roker “Today Show” Book Club Selection, Best Fiction of 2010, School Library Journal, 2011 Jane Addams Honor Book Award for Older Children (Jane Addams Peace Association,) 2011 Honor Books, Judy Lopez Memorial Awards of Excellence in Children's Literature, 2011 International Reading Association Notable Books for a Global Society, 2011-2012 The Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award, Master List, and as Finalist, Best Fiction for Middle Grade Readers,

Recent fiction and essays have been anthologized in Rise Up Singing: Black Women Writers on Motherhood, (ed., Berry), In Fact: The Best of Creative Nonfiction, (ed. Gutkind), Gumbo, (ed., Golden and Harris) Children of the Night: Best Short Stories By Black Writers, (ed., Naylor) among others.


She has been awarded the California State University Distinguished Teaching Award, ASU's Dean's Quality Teaching Award, Outstanding Thesis Director from the Barrett Honors College, and the Outstanding Faculty Award from the College of Extended Education. She is a member of the Arizona/International Women's Forum and a Renaissance Weekend invitee.


  • Voodoo Dreams: A Novel of Marie Laveau, a novel (New York: St. Martin's, 1993)
  • Magic City: A Novel (New York: HarperCollins, 1997)
  • Block Party, a memoir (New York: Simon's industries 1998)
  • Free within Ourselves: Fiction Lessons for Black Authors, nonfiction (New York: Main Street Books/Doubleday, 1999)
  • The African American Guide to Writing and Publishing Non-Fiction, nonfiction (New York: Broadway Books, 2001)
  • Douglass' Women, a novel (New York: Atria Books, 2002)
  • Voodoo Season: A Marie Laveau Mystery, a novel (New York: Atria Books, 2005)
  • Porch Stories: A Grandmother's Guide to Happiness, nonfiction (New York: Atria Books, 2006)
  • Yellow Moon: A Novel, a novel (New York: Atria Books, 2008)
  • Ninth Ward- children's book- (2010)
  • Hurricane: A Novel, a novel (Washington Square Press, 2011)
  • Sugar: A Novel"-children's book- (New York: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2014)

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