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2016 James Tiptree Jr. Award Honor List

29th Annual Lambda Literary Award finalist

2017 Mythopoeic Awards finalist

Cinnamon Jones dreams of stepping on stage and acting her heart out like her famous grandparents, Redwood and Wildfire. But at 5'10'' and 180 pounds, she's theatrically challenged. Her family life is a tangle of mystery and deadly secrets, and nobody is telling Cinnamon the whole truth. Before her older brother died, he gave Cinnamon The Chronicles of the Great Wanderer, a tale of a Dahomean warrior woman and an alien from another dimension who perform in Paris and at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. The Chronicles may be magic or alien science, but the story is definitely connected to Cinnamon's family secrets. When an act of violence wounds her family, Cinnamon and her theatre squad determine to solve the mysteries and bring her worlds together.

Advance Praise

"Will Do Magic for Small Change sings from the page. This is a novel only Afrofuturism pioneer Andrea Hairston could write, full of myth, history, magic and intrigue, from 1980s Pittsburgh to 19th Century Dahomey, West Africa. Hairston puts readers under a spell."
  —Tananarive Due, American Book Award winner, author of Ghost Summer: Stories

"Andrea Hairston's vision is breathtaking. She weaves sweeping historical narratives and mythology with the wisdom of the elders, and shines light on the pressing issues of the day. In her hands language is a blessing, and the familiar and the fantastic become magic, one and the same."
  —Sheree Renée Thomas, editor of the award-winning Dark Matter anthology series, author of Shotgun Lullabies

"This is one of those books you start and realize you've been waiting to read for a long, long time without knowing. Will Do Magic for Small Change is a deep breath, a good friend, a hearbreaking, game-changing, life-affirming, truthtelling powerhouse. I love this book."
  —Daniel José Older, author of Half-Resurrection Blues and Salsa Nocturna

"It is hard to pull away from this world of aliens meeting orishas, ghosts appearing and conversing, fiery aje, and sea monsters rising, ahosi, king's wives and warrior women, defending, gender fluidity resounding, blackbirds chronicling and ravens painting, lightning scorching and time travel transcending, wanderers flickering across dimensions and stillpoints grounding, storm fists and storm stories raining, ALL flourishing with incandescent poetic prose and shimmering song lyrics. Welcome to synapses pulsing, the flooding of ancient memories, and praise-song reframing when engaging in this neural decolonizing novel, an 1890s Dahomey, Paris, Atlantic ocean passages, New York and Chicago entangled with a 1980s Pittsburgh, emerging and becoming vibrantly alive!"
  —Grace L. Dillon (Anishinaabe), Editor of Walking the Clouds

"When I read Andrea Hairston's work, there is always the danger that the plot will draw me so quickly into the complex lives of beings so different from the humans to whom I've grown accustomed that I won't remember to slow down long enough to enjoy the richness of the writing itself. That would be a shame because the beauty of Hairston's passionate language is more than equal to the telling of her insanely imaginative tales of time travel and truth telling; memory and magic. Drawing freely and fiercely from Native American, West African and African American cultural and spiritual traditions, she creates new worlds as richly complicated and blindingly colorful as any you are likely to encounter in the work of the world's best science fiction authors. But even as I write those words, I realize that while calling her writing science fiction assigns it to a specific and honorable literary neighborhood indeed, that label may also mean that some who do not consider themselves fans of the genre may not discover her at all, depriving themselves of the sweep of her creative vision simply because of arbitrary boundaries between what is real and what is fantasy; what is now and what was then; what is past and what is prologue. But Hairston's work is not about boundaries and labels. It is about freedom, to live, to love, to fight and to win. I have been a fan of Hairston's work since Redwood and Wildfire. With the appearance of Will Do Magic for Small Change, she continues her quest to make us see more deeply, feel more authentically and allow ourselves to consider the possibility that there are worlds still to discover. How lucky we are that we're ready to go exploring, we can count of Andrea Hairston to be our guide."
  —Pearl Cleage, author of What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day


The entire work is filled with magic, celebrating West Africans, Native Americans, art, and love that transcends simple binary genders. Hairston's novel is a completely original and stunning work. 
  —Publishers Weekly, April 2016

At the core of Andrea Hairston's complex tale, WILL DO MAGIC FOR SMALL CHANGE, framed by Cinnamon's need to posthumously connect with her gay, dreamy, black-sheep brother, is the theme of journeying to the self. Cinnamon, as the child of a family scarred by race and class struggles, fights to carve an identity for herself out of the seemingly disparate elements of her life: femininity, art, blackness, geekdom, sexuality, spirituality. Paralleling this struggle is Kehinde, who was kidnapped from another people by the Fon and forced into the role of ahosi; she desperately seeks ways to prove that the Fon never truly enslaved her....The only flaw in this beautifully multifaceted story is that Kehinde's tale outshines Cinnamon's, though this improves over time. Both stories are worth that time, however, with deep, layered, powerful characters. Highly recommended.  
  —The New York Times, N.K. Jemisin, April 24, 2016

Tiptree Award-winning author Hairston (Redwood and Wildfire; Mindscape) celebrates West African stories and traditions in this strange, ethereal coming-of-age fantasy that will attract readers of Nalo Hopkinson and Octavia Butler. 
  —Library Journal, June 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61976-101-8 (13 digit)
Publication Date: Dec 1969