GWM hosts award-winning author Vanessa Riley on May 7

press release from Georgia Writers Museum

Vanessa Riley. Contributed photo

Georgia Writers Museum is excited to announce that award-winning author Vanessa Riley will be the May Meet the Author presenter on Tuesday, May 7th, at 7pm (doors open at 6:30pm) at the Plaza Arts Center in Eatonton. She will be presenting her new book, Queen of Exiles. Tickets are $40 and include amazing Haitian and Italian hors d’oeuvres and décor fit for a queen. She will be signing books following her presentation. The Plaza Arts Center is located at 305 N Madison Ave, Eatonton, GA 31024.

“You may not know Queen Marie-Louise Christophe,” says #1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult, “but once you have met her, you won’t forget her. Vanessa Riley’s historical novel feels timely and relevant, commemorating a time when Black women were queens.” Queen of Exiles is based on the true story of Haiti’s only queen.

Here is a taste of Vanessa’s story.

In 1810, in a ceremony befitting European royalty, Louise is crowned queen, reigning over the first free Black nation in the Western Hemisphere. She must temper King Henry’s lust for power and honor against court intrigues and the indifference exhibited by former allies like Britain and the new United States that leave Haiti vulnerable to demands of French reparations, war, and recolonization. Louise desperately tries to steer her ambitious husband from ruin as King Henry descends into a mire of mental illness.

In 1820, the kingdom is overthrown. Henry commits suicide; Louise and her daughters manage to flee to Europe with their smuggled jewels. The resilient Louise recovers Henry’s fortune and re-establishes herself as an equal with the kings of Europe. With newspapers and gossip tracking their every movement, she and her daughters tour Europe like other royals, complete with glittering balls and princes and marriage proposals. As they find their footing–and acceptance–they discover more about themselves, own their Blackness in elite spaces, and celebrate opportunities in a European and male-dominated world.

Vanessa Riley is an award-winning author of Island Queen, a Good Morning America Buzz Pic, and the forthcoming Queen of Exiles. Riley’s historical novels showcase the hidden histories of women of color. In addition to being a novelist, Vanessa Riley holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in industrial engineering and engineering management from Stanford University. She also earned both a BS and MS in mechanical engineering from Penn State University. Her works have been reviewed by the Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Publishers Weekly, and the New York Times. Riley was named the 2023 Georgia Author of the Year for her book, Sister Mother Warrior.

Contact Georgia Writers Museum to register for this special event and pre-order your copy of Vanessa’s book.

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