T. Geronimo Johnson

Novelist
Naitonal Book Award Longlist
Travels from: Washington, DC

“A tour-de-force riff on black history.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR’S FRESH AIR

T. Geronimo Johnson was born in New Orleans. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford, he is the author of Welcome to Braggsville and Hold it ‘Til it Hurts. Johnson has taught writing at UC Berkeley, Stanford, the Writers’ Workshop, the Prague Summer Program, Oregon State University, San Quentin, and elsewhere. He has worked on, at, or in brokerages, kitchens, construction sites, phone rooms, education non-profits, writing centers, summer camps, ladies shoe stores, nightclubs, law firms, offset print shops, and a political campaign that shall remain unnamed.

His novels have been selected by the Wall Street Journal Book Club, named a 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award finalist, shortlisted for the 2016 HurstonWright Legacy Award, longlisted for the National Book Award, longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, a finalist for The Bridge Book Award, a finalist for the Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award, included on Time Magazine’s list of the top ten books of 2015, awarded the Saroyan International Prize for Writing, named the winner of the 2015 Ernest J Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, and the Inaugural Simpson Family Literary Prize. Johnson was a 2016 National Book Award judge. He lives in domestic and commercial political exile.

Prepare an Invitation for:

Welcome to Braggsville: A Novel

William Morrow |
Fiction

“Johnson’s timely novel is a tipsy social satire about race and the oh-so-fragile ties that bind disparate parts of this country into an imperfect and restless union. . . . A tour-de-force riff on black history.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR’S FRESH AIR 

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD  WINNER OF THE 2015 ERNEST J. GAINES AWARD FOR LITERARY EXCELLENCE LONGLISTED FOR THE 2016 ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE IN FICTION 

Named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post Time  NPR  Huffington Post Buzzfeed Chicago Tribune  Men’s Journal   Kansas City Star Brooklyn Magazine  The Daily Beast and more! 

From the PEN/Faulkner finalist and critically acclaimed author of Hold It ’Til It Hurts comes a dark and socially provocative Southern-fried comedy about four UC Berkeley students who stage a dramatic protest during a Civil War reenactment—a fierce, funny, tragic work from a bold new writer.

Welcome to Braggsville. The City that Love Built in the Heart of Georgia. Population 712

Born and raised in the heart of old Dixie, D’aron Davenport finds himself in unfamiliar territory his freshman year at UC Berkeley. Two thousand miles and a world away from his childhood, he is a small-town fish floundering in the depths of a large, hyper-liberal pond. Caught between the prosaic values of his rural hometown and the intellectualized multicultural cosmopolitanism of Berzerkeley, the nineteen-year-old white kid is uncertain about his place until one disastrous party brings him three idiosyncratic best friends: Louis, a “kung-fu comedian” from California; Candice, an earnest do-gooder claiming Native roots from Iowa; and Charlie, an introspective inner-city black teen from Chicago. They dub themselves the “4 Little Indians.”

But everything changes in the group’s alternative history class, when D’aron lets slip that his hometown hosts an annual Civil War reenactment, recently rebranded “Patriot Days.” His announcement is met with righteous indignation, and inspires Candice to suggest a “performative intervention” to protest the reenactment. Armed with youthful self-importance, makeshift slave costumes, righteous zeal, and their own misguided ideas about the South, the 4 Little Indians descend on Braggsville. Their journey through backwoods churches, backroom politics, Waffle Houses, and drunken family barbecues is uproarious to start, but will have devastating consequences.

With the keen wit of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and the deft argot of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, T. Geronimo Johnson has written an astonishing, razor-sharp satire. Using a panoply of styles and tones, from tragicomic to Southern Gothic, he skewers issues of class, race, intellectual and political chauvinism, Obamaism, social media, and much more.

A literary coming-of-age novel for a new generation, written with tremendous social insight and a unique, generous heart, Welcome to Braggsville reminds us of the promise and perils of youthful exuberance, while painting an indelible portrait of contemporary America.

Hold It ’til It Hurts

Coffee House Press |
Fiction

Finalist for the 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award

The magnificence of Hold It ‘Til It Hurts is not only in the prose and the story but also in the book’s great big beating heart. These complex and compelling characters and the wizardry of Johnson’s storytelling will dazzle and move you from first page to last. Novels don’t teach us how to live but Hold It ‘Til It Hurts will make you hush and wonder.–Anthony Swofford, author of Jarhead

This rich and sophisticated first novel brings together pleasures rarely found in one book: Hold It ‘Til It Hurts is a novel about war that goes in search of passionate love, a dreamy thriller, a sprawling mystery, a classical quest for a lost brother in which the shadowy quarry is clearly the seeker’s own self, and a meditation on family and racial identity that makes its forerunners in American fiction look innocent by comparison.–Jaimy Gordon, National Book Award winner for Lord of Misrule

When Achilles Conroy and his brother Troy return from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, their white mother presents them with the key to their past: envelopes containing details about their respective birth parents. After Troy disappears, Achilles–always his brother’s keeper–embarks on a harrowing journey in search of Troy, an experience that will change him forever.

Heartbreaking, intimate, and at times disturbing, Hold It ‘Til It Hurts is a modern-day odyssey through war, adventure, disaster, and love, and explores how people who do not define themselves by race make sense of a world that does.

Coming Soon!

Teaching BRAGGSVILLE and HOLD IT

Geronimo’s Audio Appearances

Geronimo’s Events

Honors, Awards & Recognition

National Book Award Longlist
Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence
National Bestseller
Indie Next Pick
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2016 ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE IN FICTION
Best Book of the Year, The Washington Post
Best Book of the Year, Time
Best Book of the Year, NPR
Best Book of the Year, Huffington Post
Best Book of the Year, Buzzfeed
Best Book of the Year, Chicago Tribune
Best Book of the Year, Men’s Journal
Best Book of the Year, Kansas City Star
Best Book of the Year, Brooklyn Magazine
Best Book of the Year, The Daily Beast

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