Ours | Granta

  • Published: 22/02/2024
  • ISBN: 9781803510774
  • Granta Books
  • 592 pages


Phillip B. Williams

In the mid-1800s, Saint, an enigmatic and powerful conjure woman, always flanked by a silent companion, travels the South annihilating plantations and liberating the enslaved by means of purposeful violence and powerful magic. She founds a town for those she has freed – and for them alone. They name the town Ours. Surrounded by an impenetrable magical border raised by Saint’s powers, Ours is invisible to the outer world and sits blissfully away from prying eyes and violent hands. Saint’s mission is to kill slavery – to scourge its damage from the minds of her charges and to keep them safe forever.

Under Saint’s watchful eye and away from the terrible weight of their enslavement, the townsfolk become neighbours, friends and lovers. They build each other’s homes and care for each other’s children. They love and grieve together. Then two mysterious strangers, Frances and Joy, appear, inexplicably crossing the invisible border from the outer world. Saint and Frances are connected by arcane and indivisible threads, and soon Saint’s lost past and fateful present begin to coalesce in ways that will either prove Ours’ salvation or lay it bare to a world that would destroy it.

Phillip B. Williams’ astonishing debut novel is both a sweeping epic shot through with magic, and an intimate, elemental story about what it means to build a community and to try to build a life in the shadow of, and around the damage wrought by, slavery.

A beautifully-written and ambitious epic about the complexity of freedom. Williams crafts an expansive, original world filled with characters who linger long after the final page

Brit Bennett, author of The Vanishing Half

Ours is a radical re-creation of our pasts... A jewel of a novel, a deeply felt exploration of the strengthening ties and broken cords of kith and kin under the weight of complicated histories

Kaitlyn Greenidge, author of Libertie

The Author

Phillip B. Williams is the author of the poetry collections Mutiny, a 2022 American Book Award winner and a 2022 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry finalist, and Thief in the Interior, winner of the 2017 Kate Tufts Discovery Award and a Lambda Literary Award. He has received a Whiting Award and Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. He was born in Chicago and currently lives in Philadelphia.

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