Durham, NC – Saturday, October 8, Sharon Ewell Foster, acclaimed author of the new fact-based novel, The Resurrection of Nat Turner, Part One: The Witnesses (Howard/Simon & Schuster), took her Nat Turner Truth Tour to Word of Life Bookstore in downtown Los Angeles in hopes of making contact with some important figures in Hollywood.
Protests by the likes of Ossie Davis and other African American actors slowed any talks of a Nat Turner film in the past; a film they felt would denigrate black people. Then Henry Louis Gates, Jr. took the idea to Spike Lee, but the film project was abandoned due to financing problems.
Foster’s novel challenges the accepted history of one of America’s most notorious historical figures. The Virginia slave led an 1831 revolt that left more than 50 whites dead. As the 180th anniversary of his hanging approaches, Foster feels the world is ready for a new perspective on Nat Turner, one from an African-American author. Part Two: The Testimony releases February 2, 2012.
“The image of Turner we have been bequeathed is one of a religious fanatic, a lunatic who attacked without cause,” says Foster. “Perhaps, he was like Nathan Hale, a man seeking liberty, a man protecting his family and community. I think we are mature enough to look at our complete history knowing that the beauty of it is also in the terror of it.”
Foster’s five years of research included interviewing descendants of those killed, as well as Turner’s family, review of Governor John Floyd’s original diary, and analysis of trial transcripts and related documents. She uncovered proof that discredits the primary historical document on Nat Turner, The Confessions of Nat Turner, written in 1831 by Thomas Gray, who purported to be Turner’s attorney.
The original trial transcripts reveal: (1) Nat Turner did NOT confess (2) Nat Turner pled, “innocent;” (2) Thomas Gray was NOT Nat Turner’s lawyer.
Since Foster’s book release on August 2nd, she has garnered press, including articles: The Truth About Nat Turner, TheRoot.com; Moonshine and Lies: The Truth About Nat Turner, EbonyJet.com; and her book was featured at the Congressional Black Caucus 41st Annual Conference. On October 14, 2011, Ms. Foster is scheduled to be interviewed on WUNC-TV’s literary series, Bookwatch. Radio interviews have included NPR, Michael Eric Dyson Show, Bev Smith Show and Joe Madison Show. Michael Eric Dyson remarked about Foster, “She’s blowing our minds.”
Publishers Weekly reviewed the book as “fast-paced,” “riveting,” and “expertly told.” Foster describes Part One: The Witnesses as Roots meets The Da Vinci Code. The book is available wherever books (ISBN 978-1416578031), eBooks, and audio books are sold.
Check out an interview with the author as well as an audio excerpt from the book The Resurrection of Nat Turner, Part One: The Witnesses.
Interview with Sharon Ewell Foster:
Audio excerpt from book: