Award-winnning Author Florence Ladd on ‘The Spirit of Josephine’

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Inspired by legendary performer Josephine Baker, Florence Ladd's new novel is A Family Reunion in Paris: The Spirit of Josephine. The author skillfully breathes life into the featured character Violet Fields, an aging African American singer in Paris clubs and music halls who is visited occasionally by the spirit of Josephine. Violet’s niece, Hope, visits from the US. and facilitates a renewal of family ties. This gripping story, set in Paris, delves into racial treatment, expat experience, social mobility of African Americans, and family reunion dynamics. It has been called a “deliciously evocative novel... sure to resonate with anyone who cherishes family and treasures Paris.”

Florence Ladd is a psychologist, fiction writer, and essayist whose novel, Sarah's Psalm, received the 1997 best fiction award from the American Library Association's Black Caucus. The Spirit of Josephine, was published in 2014; another novel, Jason Henderson’s Senior Year, will appear in 2015. Her poems have been published in The Women’s Review of Books, The Progressive, The Rockhurst Review, Sweet Auburn, Beyond Slavery and Transition. With Marion Kilson, she also is the co-author of Is That Your Child? Mothers Talk about Rearing Biracial Children.

Educated at Howard University (B.S.) and the University of Rochester (Ph.D. in psychology), she has taught at Simmons College, Robert College and the American College for Girls in Istanbul, the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She has held deanships at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Wellesley College. In 1985-89, she worked for Oxfam America, as director of education programs and associate executive director. From 1989-1997, she was director of the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, at Harvard University. Married to sculptor Wm. J. Halstead Harris, Ladd has five stepchildren and a son, the poet/librettist Michael Ladd, who lives in Paris. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Flavigny-sur-Ozerain.

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