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LOCAL>> Helen Elaine Lee with Jennifer Haigh – Pomegranate: A Novel

Presented by Book Passage at Streaming Arts

May 04 2023
LOCAL>> Helen Elaine Lee with Jennifer Haigh – Pomegranate: A Novel

Helen Elaine Lee photo courtesy of the author

Pomegranate is a complex portrayal of queer Black womanhood and marginalization in America

Virtual Author Event
* Thursday, May 4, 5:30 pm

Ranita Atwater is almost done with her four-year sentence for opiate possession at Oak Hills Correctional Center. With three years of sobriety, she is determined to stay clean and regain custody of her two children. Ranita is regaining her freedom, but she’s leaving behind her lover Maxine, who has inspired her to imagine herself and the world differently.

Now she must steer clear of the temptations that have pulled her down, while atoning for her missteps and facing old wounds. With a fierce, smart, and sometimes funny voice, Ranita reveals how rocky and winding the path to wellness is for a Black woman, even as she draws on family, memory, faith, and love in order to choose life.

Perfect for fans of Jesmyn Ward and Yaa Gyasi, Pomegranate is a complex portrayal of queer Black womanhood and marginalization in America: a story of loss, healing, redemption, and strength. In lyrical and precise prose, Helen Elaine Lee paints a humane and unflinching portrait of the devastating effects of incarceration and addiction, and of one woman’s determination to tell her story.

Helen Elaine Lee is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. Her first novel, The Serpent’s Gift, was published by Atheneum and her second novel, Water Marked, was published by Scribner. Her short story Blood Knot appeared in the spring 2017 issue of Ploughshares and the story Lesser Crimes appeared in the Winter 2016 issue of Callaloo.

Helen was on the board of PEN New England for 10 years, and she served on its Freedom to Write Committee and volunteered with its Prison Creative Writing Program, which she helped to start.

Jennifer Haigh is the author of the highly acclaimed novels Mrs. Kimble, Baker Towers, The Condition. Her most recent critically acclaimed book, Mercy Street, Mercy argues, both in form and content, that compassion is a powerful counterpoint to the conflict-driven stories that dominate our news cycles.

Her books have won the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Massachusetts Book Award and the PEN New England Award in Fiction, and have been published in eighteen languages.


Free Event
Livestreamed and available to view anytime during or after the event on YouTube!

Contact: (415) 927-0960


    Official Website

Additional time info:

5:30 pm - 6:30 pm