Book Cover for A Sitting in St James

Words & Pictures

Rita Williams-Garcia

“Today we’re going to be like the earth, spinning around and affecting many.”


1860, Louisiana. After serving as mistress of Le Petit Cottage for more than six decades, Madame Sylvie Guilbert has decided, in spite of her family’s objections, to sit for a portrait. While Madame plots her last hurrah, stories that span generations—from the big house to the fields—of routine horrors, buried secrets, and the tangled bonds of descendants and enslaved, come to light to reveal a true portrait of the Guilberts. This astonishing novel about the interwoven lives of those bound to a plantation in antebellum America has been named an epic masterwork—empathetic, brutal, and entirely human—and essential reading for teens and adults grappling with the long history of American racism.

Rita Williams-Garcia is the author of the Newbery Honor-winning novel One Crazy Summer, which was also a winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, a National Book Award finalist, and winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction. She is the author of six distinguished novels for young adults: Jumped, a National Book Award finalist; No Laughter Here; Every Time a Rainbow Dies, a Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book; Fast Talk on a Slow Track, an ALA Best Books for Young Adults; Blue Tights; and Like Sisters on the Homefront, a Coretta Scott King Honor Book. She is on the faculty at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

A Sitting in St. James is a mesmerizing, confounding and vividly rendered portrait of the thoroughly putrid institution of slavery in antebellum Louisiana.”



Copies of A Sitting in St. James and other Rita Williams-Garcia books are available from City of Asylum Bookstore.


Words & Pictures is presented in partnership with Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh with support from EQT FoundationThe Grable Foundation, and J.B. Finley Charitable Trust through the PNC Charitable Trust Grant Review Committee

Book Cover for A Sitting in St James


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