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“Sheree Renée Thomas gives us a whirlpool of poem and story, a ‘wild and strangeful breed’ of cosmology … " —Tyehimba Jess, Pulitzer Prize Winner, author of Olio and Leadbelly
Sheree Renée Thomas is a two-headed woman, one crown, earthbound, rooted in the Mississippi Delta and the New Weird South, the other spinning far off into space. And if music is the embedded memory of a culture, then her remarkable fiction collection is its excavated soul.
Individually, these tales explore nearly every genre of music that has formed the heart of American culture, but their shared song is the story of the blues. Thomas’s writing haunts and mesmerizes you. Her imagination takes you down through it like the best traditional blues song, then opens you up again, delivering you into that mysterious, transcendental space that is the ninth bar.
Haunting and evocative, Nine Bar Blues carries the soul’s songbook, from the dark laughter of strange sisters forced to make a perilous journey into a land their mothers have never known, to the fortified funk of extraterrestrial mixtapes.
Sheree Renée Thomas imagines stories that are sonic rituals, works that cultivate and affirm the magical and the mystical in everyday living. Nine Bar Blues explores the multitudinous forms of music and the people who make it and appreciate it—the body’s music, the spirit’s music, and what moves a soul forward in the crossroads journey of life. Her stories travel from haunted West African and Middle Eastern forests to the mysterious back roads in the Mississippi Delta, from the ancestral realms of the afterlife to the alien sounds beyond. And throughout the journey, Nine Bar Blues heralds the arrival of a unique writer whose voice carries the hope and the past-future-present of a people.
Sheree Renée Thomas
Sheree Renée Thomas is an award-winning short story writer, poet, and editor with fellowships and residencies from the Millay Colony of Arts, Bread Loaf Environmental, VCCA, Ledig House, Blue Mountain Center, Cave Canem Foundation, NYFA, Tennessee Arts Commission, and Smith College where she served as the Lucille Geier- Lakes Writer-in-Residence. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary publications, including Sycorax’s Daughters, Do Not Go Quietly, Memphis Noir, Stories for Chip: A Tribute To Samuel R. Delany, So Long Been Dreaming: Post-colonial Science Fiction & Fantasy, Revise the Psalm: A Celebration of Gwendolyn Brooks, Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler, Mojo: Conjure Stories, Revenge, Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology, Lightspeed, The Ringing Ear, Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam, Apex Magazine, An Alphabet of Embers: An Anthology of Unclassifiables, The Moment of Change: Feminist Speculative Poetry, Memories & Reflections On Ursula K. Le Guin, StorySouth, Hurricane Blues, African Voices, Drumvoices Revue, Fiyah, Fireside Fiction, Strange Horizons, Obsidian, Renaissance Noire, Harvard’s Transition, Callaloo, Essence, and The New York Times. Her work is also forthcoming in The Big Book of Modern Fantasy. She edited the Dark Matter speculative fiction volumes that won two World Fantasy Awards and first introduced W.E.B. Du Bois’s work as science fiction. She was the inaugural recipient of the LA (Leslie) Banks Award for outstanding achievement in the speculative fiction field. Her hybrid, multigenre collection, Sleeping Under the Tree of Life (Aqueduct Press) was longlisted for the 2016 Otherwise Award and honored with a Publishers Weekly Starred Review. Shotgun Lullabies (Aqueduct), was described as a “revelatory work like Jean Toomer’s Cane.” She serves as the Associate Editor of Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora (Illinois State University, Normal). Nine Bar Blues: Stories from an Ancient Future (Third Man Books, 2020) is her first fiction collection. She lives in her hometown, Memphis, Tennessee.