Integrated Search Menu

Jewell Rhodes

Faculty w/Admin Appointment, POLY Campus, Mailcode 2780
Faculty, POLY Campus, Mailcode 2780

Jewell Parker Rhodes is the author Ninth Ward, a children's book, as well as five adult novels: Voodoo Dreams, Magic City, Douglass' Women, Voodoo Season, and Yellow Moon; and a memoir, Porch Stories: A Grandmother's Guide to Happiness. A sixth novel, Hurricane, will be published Aoril 2011.

She has also authored two writing guides: Free Within Ourselves: Fiction Lessons for Black Authors, and The African American Guide to Writing and Publishing Non-Fiction. Her play, Voodoo Dreams; was cited as "Most Innovative" Drama in the 2000-2001 Professional Theater Season by the Arizona Republic.

Her work has been published in Germany, Italy, Canada, Turkey, and the United Kingdom and reproduced in audio and for NPR's "Selected Shorts." Her literary awards include: the American Book Award, the National Endowment of the Arts Award in Fiction, the Black Caucus of the American Library Award for Literary Excellence, the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award for Outstanding Writing, two Arizona Book Awards, and a finalist citation for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. Ninth Ward has received a Gold from the Parents' Choice Award and the Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award.

Professor Jewell Parker Rhodes is the artistic director for Global Engagement and the Piper Endowed Chair of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University.

  • 2021   Doctor of Humane Letters, Carnegie Mellon University
  • 1979   Doctor of Arts in English/Creative Writing, Carnegie Mellon University,
    • Passed doctral orals with distinction,  Dissertation: "My Mother's Child" (novel)
  • 1976   Master of Arts in English, Carnegie Mellon University
  • 1975   Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Criticism (Honors), Carnegie Mellon University
Research Interests: 



Creative Writing

Racial Justice

Climate Change

Science Fiction

Ethnic Literature

Utopian Studies


Treasure Island (novel), Forthcoming, Harper-Collins, 2022

Paradise on Fire (novel), Forthcoming, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 2021

Black Brother, Black Brother (novel), Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 2020

Ghost Boys (novel), Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 2018

Towers Falling (novel), Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 2016

Bayou Magic (novel), Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 2015

Sugar (novel), Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 2013

Ninth Ward (novel), Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 2010

Yellow Moon (novel), Washington Square Press, 2009

Hurricane (novel), Washington Square Press, 2008

Porch Stories: A Grandmother's Guide to Happiness (memoir), Simon and Schuster, 2008

Voodoo Season (novel), Washington Square Press, 2006

Douglass' Women (novel), Simon and Schuster, 2002

Magic City (novel), Harper Collins, 1997; Re-issued 2021

Voodoo Dreams (novel), St. Martin's Press, 1993

African American Guide to Writing and Publishing Non-Fiction (non-fiction), Doubleday, 2001

Free Within Ourselves: Fiction Lessons For Black Authors, Doubleday, 1999

Devotedly, Virginia (biography, edited), by Melissa Pritchard, ASU Piper Center, 2008

Voodoo Dreams (play), ASU Workshop Production, 2001

Many other short stories, articles and reviews.

Spring 2022
Course NumberCourse Title
ENG 333American Ethnic Literature
Fall 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
ENG 473Crit Approaches Children's Lit
Spring 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
ENG 333American Ethnic Literature
ENG 394Special Topics
ENG 597Graduate Capstone Seminar
Spring 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
ENG 333American Ethnic Literature
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
ENG 509Studies in Narrative Writing
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
ENG 333American Ethnic Literature
ENG 364Women and Literature


I’ve given hundreds of talks for schools, libraries, conferences, and during multiple-city media tours for each of my books.  Classroom zooms Missouri, New York, Illinois, Texas, South and North Carolina, Indiana, Georgia, Vermont, Oregon, California, Nebraska, Arizona, ecetera. Highlights include:

Neev Literary Festival,  Bangalore, India

9/11 graphic novel launch for Lauren Tarshis  I Survived: The Attacks of September 11, 2001
Over 20 skypes, girl scout, community, etc.

BYU Symposium on Books for Young Readers, 
WSCSS – K-8 Ghost Boys to Black Brother, Black Brother: Racism, Bias, & Colorism" -
February 2021
National African American Read-In Day, Feb. 2021 (K-12 students across Dallas Independent School District with Follett and Dallas Independent School District

Shoreline Public Schools – Ghost Boys and Ninth Ward Read-In (January 2021)

Children’s Lit Festival, University of Central Missouri. March 2021
Frank F. Islam Athenaeum Presentation Montgomery College, 2021

Festival of Words, Delaware, 2021 Panelist and Presentation

National African American Read In Dallas & Follett, 2021 Ghost Boys to BBBBN: Racism, Bias, and Colorism

 Elevating Voices with the Teacher Kickoff Event scheduled for Ghost Boys for Wednesday (January 27th) at 4 pm EST. NY CITY wide GB Study fro m Teaching Matters

NCTE - Topic: Why Middle Matters -- A Convergence of Texts: The Middle Level Mosaic , 2020
VSLA 2021 Conference in March!

BYU Symposium on Books for Young Readers Feb 2021
Yaddo Presents: Words Have Power: Inspiring Equity, environmental justice, and joy with Dr. JPR and Shay Youngblood

“Imagining Douglass” – A conversation with author Colum McCann and Jewell Parker Rhodes, including readings from McCann’s novel Transatlantic and Parker Rhodes’ novel Douglass’s Women (chaired by Dr Chanté Mouton Kinyon (University of Notre Dame)) 2021

Hachette Book Group and Project Lit 2020
SoftBank Investments, Diversity Keynote, 2020

Shoreline Public School, community read Ninth Ward & Ghost Boys
Featured Speaker, Teaching Matters, NYC-wide teaching of GHOST BOYS2020
Featured Speaker, Euclid Public Library, September 2020
Featured Speaker, Langley School, April 2020
First Reads, Chicago Public Library
Panelist, Atlanta Anti-Racism Virtual Town Hall, ABC/NBC tv special, September 2020

Featured Speaker, Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures Reading Authors, 2019

Speakers, OCMBS Syracuse, NY, 2019

Panelist, Charlotte Huck Awardee, NCTE

Keynotes Michigan 2019 for Kalamazoo Public Library and KPL Youth Literature Seminar sponsored by Kansas Public Schools; (Kalamazoo School Visits, including Women’s Juvenile Detention Center) 

Belfair Montessori Magnet School, Baton Rouge, La. 2019

Panelist, NCTE, Houston 2018, “Brave Conversations: Empowering Student Voice in the Real World;” “Using Diverse Literature to Build Empathy and Awareness in Middle Schoolers,” and “Magic City: Writing Fiction to Unearth the Silenced Voices of the Tulsa Race Riots”

Michigan Association of Media Educators, Keynote, 2018

UK Book Tour, including Bath School Festival visits, Ilkey Literary Festival and panel on diversity and reality in Middle Grade literature, Ilkey School Visits in Leeds, p Henley Literary Festival panel, “The Power of Writing”
Featured Author, National Book Festival, Washington, D.C.,  2018

Panelist, “Putting Books to Work,” (2 workshop sessions), International Literacy Association (ILA) Austin, Texas, 2018

Keynote….., Jackson Hole Writers Conference, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, 2018

Texas/IDEA, week of visits to Texas IDEA schools (Brownsville, San Antonio, Austin, Brownsville, etc.), May 2018

“Authors in April,” week tour of local elementary and middle schools, Rochester, Michigan, April 2018

Panelist, “Ripped from the Headlines,” & “Crossing Borders.” Tucson Festival of Books, Tucson, Arizona, 2018

National Book Tour, Atlanta, D.C., Boston, St. Louis, St. Paul, Portland, Seattle, April 2018

Panelist, “Equity and Inclusion in Children’s Literature,” ILA West, Los Angeles, 2018

Keynote Speaker, Middle Grade Luncheon, National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), St. Louis, Mo., 2017

Panelist, “Recapturing Voices of Social Justice: Two Novels for Intermediate/Middle Graders,”
Moderator, Dr. Ann Neely, NCTE, 2017

Panelist, “Speaking Out in a Culture of Silence,” ALAN, St. Louis, Mo.  2017
moderator, Dr. Ebony Thomas, 2017

Alachua County Library, Gainsville, Florida, Multi-School and Library Visits, 2017

Keynote Speaker for Scholastic Reading Summits in Raleigh, North Carolina and Washington, D.C. “Bearing Witness to the Power of Reading,” 2017

Keynote, NCTE Whole Language Summer Institute, Arizona, "Creating Empathy, Diversity One Character, One Book at a Time," 2017

Keynote, Shenandoah University Children’s Literature Conference, “Reading And Writing Diversity,” 2017

Bookmarks Festival, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Featured Author, 2016

Scholastic Reading Club Annual “Our Favorite Authors Talk About Their Favorite Teacher” Breakfast, International Literacy Association Conference, St. Louis, Mo., 2015

“Self-love and Creative Narratives,” University Career Women Keynote, 2015

“Diversity and Character-Driven Fiction,” Children’s Institute, American Booksellers Association, Pasadena, California, 2015

Panelist/presenter, “Getting Beyond Diversity and Getting to the Story,” Kidlitosphere Annual Conference, Sacramento, California, 2014

Voodoo Dreams, Reading & Q & A, the Financial Times/Oxford Literary Festival, England, 2014

Keynote Address, Creative Arts Seminar, “Winnowing Memories: Childhood, Elders, and Oral Tales,” National University of Singapore/Ministry of Education, 2011

“Katrina’s Children: Moving Beyond the Storm Together,” co-panelist with Shadra Strickland, Southern Festival for Books, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010

Speculative Fiction: Fantasy, Horror and the Supernatural in the Literature of Black Writers, 2010 National Black Writers Conference, Medgar Evers College, CUNY, NY 
Reading, Aberystwyth University, Department of English and Creative Writing, Aberystwyth, Wales, 2009

Reading, Ninth Ward, Literary Showcase, featured book, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, Yale Club, 2009

Featured Author, “Morning Read” panel, “A Conversation with Jewell Parker Rhodes (interviewer: Chandani Lokuge)” and Workshop Seminar on “Writing Thrillers and Mysteries,” Melbourne Literary Festival, Melbourne, Australia, 2009

Reading, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada, 2009

Reading, “African American Literary Cavalcade,” Ohio State University, Ohio, 2007

Keynote Reading with Ruby Dee, Up South: International Writers of the Diaspora Conference, New York, NY, 2009

Keynote Reading, National Black McDonald’s Owners Association, Nassau, Bahamas, 2007

 “Douglass’s Women: History and Imagination,” Reading Circle for Visiting Sichuan University Faculty, ASU Center for American & Cultural Studies, 2007

Keynote Reading, Runnymeade International Literary Conference, University of London: Royal Holloway, England, 2006

Moderator & Panelist, “Crossing Borders: Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Nonfiction,” 412 Festival, University of Pittsburgh, 2005

Reading, “Celebration of Southwestern Writers,” Warwick University, Surrey, England, 2004

  • Faculty International Committee Founding Member, Member; also, Subcommittee: Academic Affairs; Study Abroad & Intl. Student Mobility (2008 - Present)
  • ASU Honorary Degree Committee, Member (2008 - Present)
  • American Society of Composers, Authors, & Publishers, Member (2004 - 2020)
  • Arizona Arts, Sciences and Technology Academy, Member: Program Committee (2004 - 2020)
  • International Women's Forum, Arizona Chapter Member: Membership Subcommittee. since 2005 (2003 - 2020)
  • Associated Writing Programs, Member (2000 - 2020)
  • Childsplay, Board of Trustees (2003 - 2008)
  • Regent’s Professor Nomination Committee, Member (2007 - 2008)
  • Literary Society of the Valley of the Southwest State Board, Executive Board Member (2005 - 2008)
  • College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Founding Artistic Director & Endowed Chair, Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing (2003 - 2008)
  • Community Embedness Steering Committee, Member (2005 - 2008)
  • Santan K-8 School, Chandler, Keynote Speaker (2006 - 2006)
  • ASU Provost Search Committee, Member (2005 - 2006)
  • Tenure Review Committee- Women's Studies, Reviewer (2005 - 2006)
  • Divisional Deans Search Committee: Humanities & Social Sciences Positions, Member (2004 - 2006)
  • ASU Academic Advisory Council for Dr. Crow, Member (2003 - 2006)
  • Faculty Women's Association, Executive Board Member (2002 - 2006)
  • Friends of the Scottsdale Library, Author Presentation (2006 - 2006)
  • Friendship Village Retirement Community, Speaker (2005 - 2006)
  • Celebration of Unity, Judge for Middle School and High School Creative Expressions Contest - two successive years (2003 - 2005)
  • Tempe Arts Festival, Interviewer for "Book Street," Author: Martin Cruz Smith (2005 - 2005)
  • CLAS Director of Development Search Committee, Member (2004 - 2004)
  • College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Director of Strategic Projects in the Humanities (2002 - 2003)
  • University Design Team, Member (2002 - 2003)
  • ASU NAtional Accreditation Team, ASU MAIN, ASU EAST & ASU WEST Site Visit, Member (2001 - 2003)
Expertise Areas: