Urgent, propulsive, and strikingly insightful, HOMEBODIES is a thrilling debut novel about a young Black writer whose world is turned upside down when she loses her coveted job in media and her searing manifesto about racism in the industry goes viral.
by Tembe Denton-Hurst
Harper, May 2023
(via Sterling Lord Literistic)
Mickey Hayward dreams of writing stories that matter. She has a flashy media job that makes her feel successful and a devoted girlfriend who takes care of her when she comes home exhausted and demoralized. It’s not all A-list parties and steamy romance, but Mickey’s on her way, and it’s far from the messy life she left behind in Maryland. Despite being overlooked and mistreated at work, it seems like she might finally get the chance to prove herself—until she finds out she’s being replaced.
Distraught and enraged, Mickey fires back with a detailed letter outlining the racism and sexism she’s endured as a Black woman in media, certain it will change the world for the better. But when her letter is met with overwhelming silence, Mickey is sent into a tailspin of self-doubt. Forced to reckon with just how fragile her life is—including the uncertainty of her relationship—she flees to the last place she ever dreamed she would run to, her hometown, desperate for a break from her troubles.
Back home, Mickey is seduced by the simplicity of her old life—and the flirtation of a former flame—but her life in New York refuses to be forgotten. When a media scandal catapults Mickey’s forgotten letter into the public zeitgeist, suddenly everyone wants to hear what Mickey has to say. It’s what she’s always wanted—isn’t it?
Intimate, witty, and deeply sexy, HOMEBODIES is a testament to those trying to be heard and loved in a world that refuses to make space, and introduces a standout new writer.
“I saw so much of myself in Homebodies, and in Mickey’s utterly delicious and sometimes aching story. Mickey made me look back and love my young Black woman self, and I loved her so much for returning me to that place.” —Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, New York Times bestselling author of The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois
“HOMEBODIES is a modern marvel—Tembe Denton-Hurst’s prose is both intimate and hysterical, inflammatory and elegiac. You’ll root for Mickey as she takes on the world, questioning and searching its contours, weaving a story we can’t help but find our own worlds inside of. Denton-Hurst has written a warm, brilliant novel that’s stunning and poignant; HOMEBODIES is wonderfully witty and full of empathy and entirely original.” —Bryan Washington, award-winning author of Memorial and Lot
“HOMEBODIES is a beautiful story on becoming. Denton-Hurst’s prose is perfect with an innate attention to detail and astonishing ability to capture the shapes and colors of emotions as she brilliantly illuminates the growing pains of forging one’s own path…something which so many of us are still looking to do. This is a deeply felt, assured literary debut by a writer worth watching.” —Nicole Dennis-Benn, author of award-winning novels Here Comes the Sun and Patsy
Tembe Denton-Hurst (@tembae on the internet) is a staff writer at New York Magazine’s The Strategist, covering beauty, lifestyle, and books; she previously wrote about beauty, gender, and culture for NYLON, them., and Elle. When she’s not writing, Tembe can be found on her couch in Queens where she lives with her partner and their two cats, Stella and Dakota.