30 Women Novelists You Should Know – #14 Zelda Lockhart

Only 10 more days until my novel Her Own Vietnam is published, but 16 more fabulous women novelists to explore. Today: Zelda Lockhart.

Powerful and harrowing

You might say that Zelda Lockhart is a friend of mine. Bu since we haven’t seen each other since 2002, does that make us merely acquaintances? Friend, acquaintance, whatever – she’s a gifted writer.

Zelda’s first novel, Fifth Born, is a powerful and harrowing story of a young girl’s search for belonging as she tries to separate herself from her abusive family and their almost inescapable history. The novel has one of the most striking covers of any book on my shelves.

Fifth Born

Cold Running Creek is historical fiction based in the time surrounding the Civil War. It avoids the usual characters that populate many novels set in that era, and instead focuses on the struggles of Native American and African American women as they try to survive  during the waning days of slavery and the violent theft of Indian land. Fifth Born II: The Hundredth Turtle builds on Zelda’s debut novel, moving its protagonist Odessa from Mississippi and Missouri to New York City amidst the upheaval of social movements in the 1970s and 80s.

A quiet grief

In the Spring 2014 edition of the beautiful literary journal Referential Magazine, Zelda has a moving short story called The Empty Nest. In it, the narrator describes her daughter’s approaching adulthood as “the slow departure from my intentions.” If any phrase better encapsulates the quiet grief of parents as their children do what they must do and grow apart, I haven’t encountered it.

A busy woman

In addition to writing, Zelda Lockhart teaches, leads workshops, does public speaking, and is the director and founder of LaVenson Press Studios in North Carolina. There women writers can find their voices, sharpen their skills, and create a community. Zelda is making a place for herself and her sisters, in the heart of the written word.

Zelda Lockhart

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