Safia Elhillo by Caits Meissner for Jellyfish Treasury

Sudanese-American poet Safia Elhillo has recently released a new volume of poetry, Girls That Never Die, but she is also releasing a young adult novel. The book is called Bright Red Fruit and will be published by Make Me a World Press (a Random House Children’s Books imprint) fall 2023.

Elhillo is known for her widely celebrated poetry and experimental writing style. The most recent collection, Girls That Never Die, was published July 12 and features artwork by Hassan Hajjaj. The anthology draws on Elhillo’s life experiences and family history, as well as cultural myths and news stories told through the form of the epic. Some of her other titles include The January Children, Home Is Not a Country, and the co-edited anthology Halal If You Hear Me. She has won numerous awards for her work including the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, the Arab American Book Award, and the Brunel International African Poetry Prize.

Bright Red Fruit, like many of Elhillo’s other works, centers girlhood, this time following the story of a vulnerable young girl in a dangerous relationship. According to Publisher’s Market Bright Red Fruit is the story of a young poet feeling trapped within the confines of her loving but strict family, who begins a relationship with a charismatic older poet that gives her everything she thought she wanted–but at what cost? A story about young talent, predatory grooming, and the often-fraught journey to finding your own voice.

Being that her latest book, Girls That Never Die, is written in the form of an epic and her award winning debut novel Home Is Not A Country took the form of a novel in verse, we wonder what experimental style Elhillo will characterize this book. Stay tuned!