The two actors are among a slate of artists who will lend their voices to the audiobook, from Macmillan and Henry Holt and Company. Additional narrators are Ngozi Anyanwu, January LaVoy, Tomiwa Edun and Landon Woodson. My Monticello will come to shelves and Audible on October 5, 2021.
In My Monticello, a collection of vignettes, Virginia’s landscapes, emblems, and Thomas Jefferson’s historic plantation set the stage for a cast of unforgettable characters fighting for their right to exist in America.
A young woman descended from Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings driven from her neighborhood by a white militia. A university professor studying racism by conducting a secret social experiment on his own son. A single mother desperate to buy her first home even as the world hurtles toward catastrophe. Each fighting to survive in America.
King will narrate the eponymous novella, “My Monticello.” Set in the near future, the debut portion tells of a diverse group of Charlottesville neighbors fleeing violent white supremacists. Led by Da’Naisha, a young Black descendant of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, they seek refuge in Jefferson’s historic plantation home in a desperate attempt to outlive the long-foretold racial and environmental unravelling within the nation.
Burton will lend his voice to the sophomore chapter, “Control Negro,” which follows a university professor who devotes himself to the study of racism and the development of ACMs (average American Caucasian males) by clinically observing his own son from birth in order to “painstakingly mark the route of this Black child too, one whom I could prove was so strikingly decent and true that America could not find fault in him unless we as a nation had projected it there.”
Johnson’s characters all seek out home as a place and an internal state, whether in the form of a Nigerian widower who immigrates to a meager existence in the city of Alexandria, finding himself adrift; a young mixed-race woman who adopts a new tongue and name to escape the landscapes of rural Virginia and her family; or a single mother who seeks salvation through “Buying a House Ahead of the Apocalypse,” narrated by Anyanwu.
United by these characters’ relentless struggles against reality and fate, My Monticello bears witness to this country’s legacies and introduces Johnson, a new voice in American fiction.
King most notably appeared as Michaela Pratt on ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder opposite Viola Davis. Her credits also include Blackout, Amazon’s Sylvie’s Love, The Birth of a Nation and Black Box.
Burton recently served as a guest judge on Jeopardy!, quickly becoming the fan favorite candidate to fill the vacancy left by original host Alex Trebek. he is also known for his role as Kunta Kinte in the ABC miniseries Roots and as the longtime host of the PBS Kids’ Reading Rainbow for over 20 years. He received 12 Daytime Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award as a host and executive producer of the show. He recently released This is My Story, a video series in which he narrates audience stories about their experiences with racism in America.
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