The New York Times Magazine’s NYT The 1619 Project, which ran in an August 2019 issue and that explored the history and impact of slavery in the United States, is being expanded into book form with The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, to be published by One World, an imprint of Random House, on November 16, 2021. The 400-page book, created by Pulitzer Prize winner Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of The 1619 Project, and The New York Times Magazine, will be released in hardcover and digital, with an audiobook release by Penguin Random House audio, and will include “major expansions of the original essays, seven new essays by historians, and dozens of new poems and pieces of fiction.” A children’s picture book version, The 1619 Project’s Born on the Water, by Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renée Watson, illustrated by Nikkolas Smith, will be released the same day in the same formats, by Kokila, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers.
The 1619 Project will include 18 essays, including a new introduction by Hannah-Jones, an expansion of her lead essay, and a new essay “a third essay that makes the case for reparative solutions to the legacy of injustice the project documents.” The book’s essays will each be paired with archival portrait photography of Black Americans curated by Kimberly Annece Henderson, along with 36 works of fiction and poetry. The book was edited by Hannah Jones plus New York Times Magazine editor-in-chief Jake Silverstein, features editor Ilena Silverman, and New York Times executive producer Caitlin Roper.
Nonfiction contributors include Michelle Alexander, Leslie Alexander, Carol Anderson, Jamelle Bouie, Anthea Butler, Matthew Desmond, Martha Jones, Ibram Kendi, Kevin Kruse, Trymaine Lee, Tiya Miles, Wesley Morris, Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Dorothy Roberts, Jeneen Interlandi, Bryan Stevenson, and Linda Villarosa. Fiction and poetry contributors include by Joshua Bennett, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Rita Dove, Camille Dungy, Cornelius Eady, Eve L. Ewing, Nikky Finney, Vievee Francis, Yaa Gyasi, Forrest Hamer, Terrance Hayes, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Barry Jenkins, Tyehimba Jess, Robert Jones, Jr., A. Van Jordan, Yusef Komunyakaa, Kiese Laymon, Jasmine Mans, Terry McMillan, Lynn Nottage, ZZ Packer, Gregory Pardlo, Darryl Pinckney, Claudia Rankine, Jason Reynolds, Evie Shockley, Tim Siebles, Clint Smith, Danez Smith, Patricia Smith, Tracy K. Smith, Nafissa Thompson-Spires, Natasha Trethewey, Jesmyn Ward and Sonia Sanchez.
Of the collaboration with One World, Hannah-Jones said in a statement, “When we published The 1619 Project in 2019, none of us could have imagined all that it would become. The historic events that have since taken place in our country have only affirmed the thesis of, and necessity for, a project that grapples with how slavery, oppression and the struggle for Black liberation created the country we live in today. This book, with its expanded and new essays, will illuminate in surprising ways the indelible impact that this nation’s original sin continues to have on all of us in the belief that it is only by honestly confronting our past that we can build a country that lives up to its most majestic ideals.”
One World publisher Chris Jackson said, “The 1619 Project book extends and refines the original magazine’s persuasive case that our country was set into motion and is still defined by the twin births of that historic year: a historically brutal regime of race-based slavery and the glorious freedom struggle it necessitated. This book introduces readers to a story of the United States, outside of mythology and illusion, that is at once terrifying, inspiring, and useful: it gives readers a new and illuminating path back to our past, but also shows us paths forward, to a country finally shed of its historic burden.”
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Born on the Water, a picture book in verse, will tell the story of a young girl doing a class assignment, which “chronicles the consequences of slavery and the history of Black resistance in the United States.” On Twitter, illustrator Smith, author and illustrator of children’s picture book The Golden Girls of Rio, and illustrator of World Cup Women, wrote that the picture book is “possibly the most important assignment of my career so far.” Watson, author of numerous young adult, middle grade and children’s picture books, including Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills, called the collaboration “a supreme honor” on Twitter.
In a statement, Namrata Tripathi, VP and Publisher of Kokila, said, “Picture books serve as our introduction to storytelling, and so it feels especially right that The 1619 Project, which examines the beginning of the American story, be shared in this form. The poetry and care with which Nikole Hannah-Jones, Renée Watson, and Nikkolas Smith approach Born on the Water make it both a gift for young readers (and the grown-ups in their lives) and a powerful tool for them to reimagine their place in the United States.”