Rebellious Novel Brings New Life to Nat Turner


Howard/Simon & Schuster Book Unearths 180 Years of Lies with Witnesses

It is believed that Nat Turner led a slave revolt in Virginia 180 years ago on August 22, 1831. The aftermath left over 50 whites and hundreds of Blacks dead. Turner was convicted and executed.

August 2, 2011, Howard/Simon & Schuster publishes the first of two new novels on the topic by Sharon Ewell Foster: The Resurrection of Nat Turner, Part One: The Witnesses. (ISBN 978-1416578031)

Part One: The Witnesses is a fact-based epic that discredits the primary historical source document on Nat Turner, The Confessions of Nat Turner, a pamphlet published in 1831 by Turner’s believed lawyer Thomas Gray-later turned into a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by William Styron. That document stated that Turner gave a statement of guilt to Gray, which was then read before the court.

Foster located the original handwritten trial transcripts, in which Turner, actually, pled innocent and offered no confession. Gray was not mentioned in official court documents as Nat Turner’s attorney.

“What I found puts everything we believe about Nat Turner and what happened in the uprising in question. Burdened with the truth, I feel a responsibility to share what I found-both good and bad. We’ve been laboring under a 180-year-old lie. This is an American story and the truth needs to be told. We are all witnesses. Nat Turner deserves his day in court. Let the truth rise,” said Foster.

Through five years of research-including interviews with descendants of those killed, Turner’s family, friends and foes, and analysis of related trial transcripts-Foster creates a novel that spans more than sixty years, sweeping from the majestic highlands of Ethiopia to Southampton County, Virginia. It includes nonfictional accounts, such as excerpts from trial transcripts and from then Virginia Governor John Floyd’s original diary. Documented accounts are balanced with fictionalized perspectives based on recognized political and ethical views of historical figures such as Harriet Beecher Stowe and Frederick Douglass.

In a recent review of Part One: The Witnesses, Publisher’s Weekly says, Foster “writes vividly about faith and slavery in this fast-paced narrative. Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, aims to clarify the accepted history of Nat Turner’s prosecution … the story is riveting and expertly told by an inspired, practiced storyteller.”

The book is available for pre-publication sale and will be available wherever books, eBooks, and audio books are sold. Visit the author’s web site or the publisher’s web site

Sharon Ewell Foster – a former Defense Department instructor, writer, analyst, and logistician, is the only African American to win the Christy Award for her historical novel, Passing by Samaria, also chosen as the NAACP Book of the Year in 2000. She is a speaker and author of seven previous books that have earned her a loyal following that crosses market, gender, and racial boundaries. Foster has been a contributor to Daily Guideposts for over 10 years.

Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, and the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee. Contact him through NewsBlaze.

Kam Williams is a popular and top NewsBlaze reviewer, who gives his unvarnished opinion on movies, DVDs and books, plus many in-depth and revealing celebrity interviews.