Home          About          Excerpts          News           Praise           Author           Contact           Readings           Purchase




"A Remarkable First Novel...Extraordinarily Exhilirating"

"Sugaree Rising is a remarkable first novel, intelligent, sensitive, thoughtful, perceptive. It is the story of a small tightly knit, interrelated group of South Carolina Blacks who established their own community after the Civil War. They bring with them the traditional beliefs of their slave ancestors, the old ways and the old gods. In the South Carolina of the 1930 their descendants still honor the traditions of their African forefathers, living their days in essentially parallel universes, the everyday and the spiritual, both real, both shifting back and forth like a kaleidoscope. It is an extraordianarily exhilarating way of perceiving the world."

Shirley Ann Grau
New Orleans
Winner of the 1965 Pulitzer Prize For Fiction


J. Douglas Allen-Taylor "writes in the tradition of Zora Neal Hurston; in the language of the people. He writes about the keepers of tradition."


Ishmael Reed




"Yally Kinlaw ... Is One Of The Most Appealing Young Literary Characters Since Scout Finch"

“Set in 1935-36, the background drama of the story is drawn from a real event, the building of the Santee River Dam, a New Deal project designed to control floods, provide jobs for the unemployed, and electricity to the rural areas. The novel opens with the Kinlaw family learning that their home and the homes of all their relatives on [Manigault] Hill will be flooded by the proposed construction; the graves of their ancestors covered by lakes to be enjoyed by ‘cracker’ fishermen. Having heard these rumors before, they were doubtful because they could not understand what good electricity would do anyone living underwater, and they furthermore did not think that the white ‘buckra’ would ever flood their own homes, fields, and graveyards. Rather than employ the usual dichotomies of white and black, industrial and agricultural, modern and pre-modern, Allen-Taylor's story takes an interesting twist. Buried deep among the ancillary tales of tricksters, the supernatural, and hoodoo is the unique coming of age story of protagonist Yally Kinlaw who, as she approaches the age of sixteen, is one of the most appealing young literary characters since [To Kill A Mockingbird’s] Scout Finch.”

The University of South Carolina Press



"After Finishing Sugaree Rising, I Still Found Myself Living In Yelesaw"

"Sugaree Rising is a moving, profound and powerful novel. When I got to the end I felt that I had learned that there are forces in this world that are bigger and deeper than white men's greed, a timely message. Early on it seemed to be a novel about victimization, like all the other stories of eminent domain evictions and land thievery. But by the end, although that was still one of the novel's themes, the book's core somehow became something bigger. I feel the aliveness of older, deeper traditions and connections, and that knowledge somehow gave me hope.

"There were so many things I admired in this book: I loved the characters, especially Allen-Taylor's strong, feisty women. Kudos! I loved the various kinds of conflict he developed, some familiar, others new to me. I also loved the mystical/spirit levels of the book, the humor, the explorations of extended family dynamics.

"After finishing Sugaree Rising, I found myself still living in Yelesaw, finding a vitality there, where every bird and blade of grass was animated. As all is everywhere, if we stop and pay attention."

Bay Area Novelist Elizabeth Claman
Author of Identity Blues and The Prodigal Wife



"The weave between spirit and practicality is nearly seamless"

Sugaree Rising is a very solid piece of work. The characterizations and the evocation of place and time are consistent, intelligent and well paced. The weave between spirit and practicality is nearly seamless. Mr. Allen-Taylor certainly had a wide range of publishing choices for such a quality novel. We’re very happy that he has chosen to publish with Freedom Voices.”

Freedom Voices Editor B. Jesse Clarke




Connect with "Sugaree Rising" on Facebook