Morgan Jerkins is a New York City based writer and editor. Jerkins graduated from Princeton University with an AB in Comparative Literature, specializing in nineteenth century Russian literature and postwar modern Japanese literature, and an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Named one of the Most Anticipated Books of 2018 by many publications including, Esquire, Elle, Vogue, Nylon, The Millions, Refinery29, and the Huffington Post, Jerkin’s This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America (Harper Perennial) interweaves her incisive commentary on pop culture, feminism, black history, misogyny, and racism with her own experiences to confront the very real challenges of being a black woman today.
Jerkins is only in her twenties, but she has already established herself as an insightful, brutally honest writer who isn’t afraid of tackling tough, controversial subjects. In This Will Be My Undoing, she takes on perhaps one of the most provocative contemporary topics: What does it mean to “be”—to live as, to exist as—a black woman today? This is a book about black women, but it’s necessary reading for all Americans. Throughout the book, Jerkins becomes both narrator and subject to expose the social, cultural, and historical story of black female oppression that influences the black community as well as the white, male-dominated world at large.
Perfect for literary festivals, women’s networking conferences, universities and colleges, Jerkins aims to start a conversation with her passionate and honest presentations and discussions.
An Associate Editor at Catapult, Jerkin’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic, ELLE, The New Republic, and Buzzfeed, among others.
Praise for This Will Be My Undoing:
“In Morgan Jerkins’s remarkable debut essay collection, This Will Be My Undoing, she is a deft cartographer of black girlhood and womanhood. From one essay to the next, Jerkins weaves the personal with the public and political in compelling, challenging ways. Her prodigious intellect and curiosity are on full display throughout this outstanding collection. The last line of the book reads, ‘You should’ve known I was coming,’ and indeed, in this, too, Jerkins is prescient. With this collection, she shows us that she is unforgettably here, a writer to be reckoned with.”
Morgan Jerkins is a star, a force, a blessing, a scholar and a critic, and now can add great American essayist to that list! I found myself sighing, nodding, gasping, laughing, and crying while reading this collection–but mostly cheering! We can all sleep well at night knowing this country will inherit heart, mind, and soul like this. It’s safe to say I’ve never read anyone this young–barely at quarter life!–who can understand herself, those around her, past and present, with such dignity and clarity and generosity. Intersectionality in America is dissected, investigated, celebrated and challenged all without being pedantic or preachy or pretentious. And Jerkins is the sort of benevolent intellectual you want to spend time with–who will never lie to you, but also will never let you lie to her. I’ve long known that feminism and arts and media owe so much to the excellent work of black women and This Will be My Undoing is yet another testament to that.
--Porochista Khakpour, author of Sons & Other Flammable Objects, The Last Illusion, and Sick
“Each chapter provides insightful, personal, and frank analysis of how several identities can and do overlap with one another.”
--Library Journal Review
“There’s a radical honesty and warmth in these essays, no matter the topic.”
--Alexander Chee, author of Edinburgh and Queen of the Night
“Threaded together by prose that is at once tender and disarming, Morgan Jerkins’s debut collection is an invitation to conversation with a ferocious intellect and a singular, uncompromising voice. In essays that confront the forces of anti-blackness and misogyny, Jerkins demonstrates that being unflinching does not require that we be unmoved. Readers who encounter this debut will be hard-pressed not to have felt something shifted within themselves when they put it down.”
--Alana Massey, author of All the Lives I Want
“Jerkins is one of the smartest young writers of her generation, and this is an insightful, revelatory collection of personal essays about a variety of today’s important issues. So fantastic.”
“Jerkins’ forthright examination of her own experiences leads to a triumphant reclaiming of blackness in all its power.”
“Jerkins’s debut collection of essays forces readers to reckon with the humanity black women have consistently been denied. Her writing is personal, inviting, and fearless as she explores the racism and sexism black women face in America... [a] gorgeous and powerful collection.”
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Jerkins has strong character, and This Will Be My Undoing is likely just the beginning of her influence on the role of black women in the United States. As she is careful to point out, she is just one voice and her story doesn’t speak for all black women, but with any luck her one voice will inspire other voices to add to the chorus of change.”