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Stones by Jeanie Kortum.jpg

Stones: A Novel

This is a co-imprint collaboration between She Writes Press and UnCUT/VOICES Press.

Editorial Reviews


2018 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Winner in General Fiction/Novel (Over 80,000 words)

“Everything Jeanie Kortum writes (and does!) is informed by a huge heart, a gentle and tenacious intelligence, a fierce longing to tell truth stories, a passionate dedication to the betterment of humanity. She is a wonderful writer.”
―Anne Lamott

“Not since Alice Walker's Possessing the Secret of Joy has a novel so boldly placed female genital mutilation at its heart. Stones does not turn away but looks directly at this ancient rite, encompassing and also challenging modernity's response to it. Stones is as rewarding as it is provocative.”
―Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University

“As a survivor of female genital mutilation, I welcome the complex tale Jeanie Kortum has spun in Stones. On so many levels, her fiction tells the truth about a custom whose psychological density and convolution escape the rigid categories of sociology and statistics. In their place we find spirituality, tribal identity, myth, mysticism, and art―beliefs that anchor FGM in defiant emotions that must be uncovered and addressed in order that we activists will sooner see the end of a noxious tradition.”
―Khady Koita, author of Mutilée, translated as Blood Stains

“Appeals to human rights go only so far; statistical analyses, medical persuasion, and lofty sermons cannot address the roots of FGM (Female Genital Mutilation). Only stories like Kortum’s Stones do, with its intricate heights and depths, emotions, inventions, and insight.”
―Dr. Tobe Levin von Gleichen, Associate, Harvard University, Visiting Research Fellow, University of Oxford, CEO, UnCUT/VOICES

"Jeanie Kortum is a storyteller in the ancient tradition that she writes of: at once poet, dreamweaver, detective, medicine woman, and visionary. Each sentence of Stones is a work of art, each word a surprise and at the same time deeply remembered from an indigenous past buried in our cells. An epic poem, a healing spell, an ancient incantation and a page-turner novel, the reader may emerge as changed and awakened as the characters and cultures in these pages."
―Kim Rosen, author of Saved by a Poem: The Transformative Power of Words and founder of the S.H.E. Fund

“At the heart of Stones is a harsh tradition, female genital mutilation that tethers its tribal actors to the Kenyan earth, the cradle of humanity. Tradition encroaches upon modernity as the young anthropologist intent on scientific investigation assumes the role of a messianic heroine . . . Carried by the soundscape of Kortum’s story, readers search for origins, struggle with change, chafe against inevitability. They are also granted the opportunity to loosen the chains of conflicted complicity through the authority of an extraordinary language.”
―Dr. Maria Jaschok Director, International Gender Studies Centre, Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford

“Reading Stones made my mind sweat, like listening to poignant music can do. Partly this is because of its tasty flavorful words, which exceed what we call 'poetry'. And partly it is because in the protagonist Emely/Amely, one experiences a human being turning into a divinity."
―Shao John Thorpe, author of The Cargo Cult

About the Author

Jeanie Kortum is an award-winning author, journalist, and humanitarian. She founded and directed A Home Away from Homelessness for nearly twenty years. Her philanthropic work has been widely recognized by a long list of awards, some of which include the San Francisco Foundation’s Community Award, the Commission on Women Making History Award, the Espiritu Award from the Isabel Allende Foundation and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the San Francisco Urban Research Association. She has been the subject of two CBS national news profiles and rights to her life story have been sold to Warner Brothers. Kortum’s award winning first novel, Ghost Vision, is loosely based on her experiences dogsledding to a Greenland village at the top of the world. She researched Stones by living with a hunter/gatherer tribe in Africa, during which time she witnessed a clitoridectomy. This experience compelled her to bring awareness to the danger of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Kortum lives with her husband and adopted son in Northern California and Ireland.

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