Sanderia Faye was born and raised in Gould, Arkansas. She is the author of Mourner’s Bench (University of Arkansas Press, September 2015). Her work has appeared in various literary journals and in Arsnick: The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Arkansas, edited by historians Dr. Jennifer Wallach and Dr. John Kirk. Faye is co-founder and fellow at Kimbilio Center for Fiction. She moderated a 2015 AWP panel and the grassroots panel for the Arkansas Civil Rights Symposium during the Freedom Riders 50th Anniversary. She is a recipient of awards, residencies, and fellowships from Hurston/Wright Writers Conference, Eckerd College’s Writers in Paradise Conference, Callaloo Writers Workshop, Vermont, Writers Studio, The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow, and Martha’s Vineyard Writers Residency. Faye is also a PhD student in English at North Texas University. She received an MFA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University, and a BS in Accounting from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. She was an instructor for The United States Navy-Navy College Program for Afloat College Education (NCPACE).
Praise for Mourner’s Bench:
“With Mourner’s Bench, Sanderia Faye announces herself as a bold, at times intoxicating, original voice in American fiction. This is a stunning début.”
—Dennis Lehane, author of Gone Baby Gone, Mystic River, & Shutter Island
“Chapter by chapter, without ever seeming to struggle, Mourner’s Bench completely immerses us in small-town 1960’s Arkansas, a time and place of racial turmoil and social conflict that very much speaks to our own. Perhaps the greatest of the book’s many successes is the richness of its young protagonist, Sarah Jones, whose voice is so candid and whose difficulties are so involving that it’s impossible not to sympathize with her. As a result, your stance on the civil rights battle in which she finds herself embroiled evolves right along with hers, taking on unexpected nuances and complexities. Reading her story, no matter what you believe history might have taught us since, you feel as if the questions of racial justice are not only unresolved but barely yet asked.”
—Kevin Brockmeier (The Brief History of the Dead)
“Faye’s clear-eyed yet tender vision imbues this story of our difficult past with ringing hope for the future. This is a novel that lingers in your spirit like the bittersweet chords of a favorite song.”
—Tayari Jones (Silver Sparrow and Leaving Atlanta)
Mourner’s Bench should be mandatory reading for those seeking understanding of this part of the civil rights struggle. Sanderia’s deft touch in creating her characters makes her novel accessible to wide audiences on multiple levels. …Surely Mourner’s will become a classic selection for higher education.
—Dr. April Burris
“Brilliantly written, Mourner’s Bench takes the reader back to 1960s small-town Arkansas and tells a story about the public, and private, ways that black and white people worked for or resisted change. A powerful, brilliant book.
—Vivienne Schiffer (Camp Nine)