Kiss the Scars on the Back of My Neck by Joe Okonkwo

This sizzling story collection introduces readers to complicated characters, male and female, who find themselves at the crossroads of Black Life in America, illustrating the challenges they face, and the price they pay to live authentic lives.


Coming August 2021 from Amble Press

Joe Okonkwo’s debut novel, Jazz Moon, was a passionate, thriving, and original novel about love and race, set against the backdrop of the Harlem Renaissance and glittering Jazz Age Paris. The eclectic stories in this new collection offer a similar kind of magic that is thrumming with raw grit and contemporary twists.

A young Black woman defies her community, and a gay man’s concept of beauty is rocked. A ménage à trois becomes uncomfortable for unexpected reasons, and a 16-year-old embarks upon a dangerous seduction that could destroy numerous lives. An unemployed, pot-smoking technophobe stumbles into a job that blows up his resistance to change, and two opera-loving Black men, opposites in every way, launch into a contentious love affair.

Okonkwo’s brilliant, viscerally drawn characters in Kiss the Scars on the Back of My Neck vibrate with energy and power as they brave (and resist) the damaging emotional effects of negative body image and loneliness, black-on-black racism, the changing nature of romantic relationships, and the complications of living in a relentlessly digital world.

JOE OKONKWO is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, and editor. His debut novel Jazz Moon won the Publishing Triangle’s prestigious 2016 Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Fiction. A cum laude graduate of the University of Houston with a B.A. in theater, Joe made his living for a number of years as an actor, stage manager, director, playwright, and youth theater instructor. He also holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from City College of New York.

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