Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Nafissa Thompson-Spires  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction

Audience: Adult;


Illinois Connection

Thompson-Spires is a Professor of English at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. 

Biographical and Professional Information

Nafissa Thompson-Spires earned a PhD in English from Vanderbilt and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Illinois. Her work has appeared in Story Quarterly, Lunch Ticket, East Bay Review, Compose, Blinders, FLOW, The Feminist Wire, among other publications. She is a 2016 fellow of the Callaloo Writer's Workshop.

Watch an interview with Nafissa on NBC's Late Night with Seth Meyers at this link -


Heads of the Colored People

-- Longlisted, National Book Award for Fiction, 2018
-- Finalist, Kirkus Prize, 2018

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability: Yes

Selected Titles At Your Library

Heads of the colored people :
ISBN: 9781684413706. OCLC Number: 1035016344

. .

Each captivating story plunges headfirst into the lives of new, utterly original characters. Some are darkly humorous, from two mothers exchanging snide remarks through notes in their kids' backpacks, to the young girl contemplating how best to notify her Facebook friends of her impending suicide; while others are devastatingly poignant. A new mother and funeral singer who is driven to madness with grief for the young black boys who have fallen victim to gun violence, or the teen who struggles between her upper middle class upbringing and her desire to fully connect with black culture.