Novel at Home Presents: Memphis Author Susan Cushman

In conversation with Jeffrey Blount for a live online book launch for John and Mary Margaret

Friday, June 4 at 6:00pm

Join us online as we celebrate the release of John and Mary Margaret on Friday, June 4 at 6:00 PM CDT. We will be welcoming local author Susan Cushman along with award-winning author Jeffrey Blount for an online book launch. 

“Filled with the sights, sounds, and flavors of Mississippi, Cushman’s story opens a heartfelt and authentic window not only into two lives, but into the South then and now.”
—Lisa Wingate, #1 New York Times Bestselling author

Event is FREE. Attendees must register via Zoom here.


“Set against the backdrop of the University of Mississippi in the mid-1960s, this clear-eyed book confronts the historical and social realities of those times and the once perilous nature of interracial intimacy.”
—Ralph Eubanks, author of Ever Is a Long Time and A Place Like Mississippi

“Susan Cushman has captured the heart and soul of the Old and New South with her powerful literary saga. Spanning five decades of two star-crossed lovers’ courageous and perilous journeys in Mississippi and Memphis, John and Mary Margaret conveys the power of love to overcome historical racial injustice. I can’t stop thinking about it!”

—Lisa Patton, bestselling author of Rush and Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’easter

“Susan Cushman’s John and Mary Margaret is an elegantly written and beautifully understated love story. Two young people from adjacent, yet distant worlds, fall in love only to find the cultural space in which they discover each other is not comfortable with or accepting of their relationship. But decades later, Cushman gives that love a second chance, and we are truly lucky to bear witness to her notion that true love might be delayed but it will never be fully denied.”

—Jeffrey Blount, author of The Emancipation of Evan Walls

John and Mary Margaret is an insider’s look into the white privilege bubble of a young girl growing up in Jackson, Mississippi and participating in sorority life on the Ole Miss campus in the late 1960s. But it’s also a candid portrayal of a young Black man from Memphis who follows his dream to study law at the predominantly white university.

What happens when their shared love for literature blossoms into an ill-fated romance? Spanning five decades of historical civil rights events in Mississippi and Memphis, John and Mary Margaret’s story will challenge the status quo and give us another opportunity to examine our history and our hearts.


Susan was born in Jackson, Mississippi and went to school at the University of Mississippi. She moved to Memphis in 1988 where she and her husband continued to raise their three children. Fast forward thirty-two years, and they have four granddaughters!

Susan was co-director of the 2013 and 2010 Oxford  (Mississippi) Creative Nonfiction Conferences.  She was director of the 2011 Memphis Creative Nonfiction Workshop. She was a panelist at the 2017 Decatur Book Festival, the  2012, 2017, and 2018 Southern Festival of Books, the 2017 and 2018 Mississippi Book Festival, the 2013, 2017, 2018 and 2019 Louisiana Book Festival, the 2018 Mississippi Writers Guild Conference, the 2018 Alabama Writers Conclave Conference, the 2018 Pat Conroy Literary Center Visiting Author Series, the 2019 Southern Literary Festival, and the 2020 AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Professionals) annual conference.

Her published books include three she has written: Friends of the Library (short stories), Tangles and Plaques: A Mother and Daughter Face Alzheimer’s (a memoir), and Cherry Bomb (a novel).  She has edited three collections of essays: A Second Blooming: Becoming the Women We Are Meant to BeSouthern Writers Writing, and The Pulpwood Queens Celebrate 20 Years! In addition she has over a dozen essays published in four anthologies and various journals and magazines. 

Much of Susan’s writing is infused with elements of her own life, including the very mystical spirituality of her Orthodox Christian faith and the personal demons she has been chasing since childhood. Her essays, short stories, memoir, and novels all reflect what she has learned through many dark nights of the soul, but also contain elements of hope and healing and honor her Southern roots.


Jeffrey is the award-winning author of three novels — Almost Snow White, winner of the 2013 USA Best Book Awards, Hating Heidi Foster, winner of the 2013 Readers Favorite Book Award for young adult literature, and The Emancipation of Evan Walls, winner of the 2019 Readers Favorite Book Award and the 2019 American Bookfest Best Book Award and a Shelf Unbound 2019 Notable Book.

He is also an Emmy award-winning television director and a 2016 inductee to the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame.  During a 34-year career at NBC News, Jeffrey directed a decade of Meet The PressThe Today ShowNBC Nightly News, and major special events.

He was a contributor for HuffPost and has been published in The Washington PostThe and other publications, commenting on issues of race, social justice and writing.

He is also an award-winning documentary scriptwriter for films and interactives that are now on display in the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture,  the Newseum,  America I AM: The African American Imprint at the National Constitution Center, The Museum at Bethel Woods, at the site of the 1969 Woodstock Music and Arts Fair, and others.  These projects have won Cine Golden Eagle Awards,  Muse Awards and a Thea Award.

In 2017 and 2018, Jeffrey served as Journalist in Residence and Shapiro Fellow at the School of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University.

Recently, Jeffrey earned his university’s alumni achievement award – the VCU Alumni Star – for his professional achievements as a director at NBC, script writer and author.  He also serves as a member of the advisory board at the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture at Virginia Commonwealth University, his alma mater.

Born and raised in Smithfield, Virginia, he now lives in Washington, DC.

For more information about this event, click here.

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