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Biography by Hecimovich wins praise in Harvard publication

Gregg Hecimovich, Department of English.

Last updated December 7, 2023

By Tina Underwood

In 2013, Furman University’s Gregg Hecimovich unearthed the true identity of the author of “The Bondwoman’s Narrative,” the first known novel written by a formerly enslaved Black woman. Years of painstaking research led to the English professor’s biography, “The Life and Times of Hannah Crafts: The True Story of ‘The Bondwoman’s Narrative,’” published in October by Ecco. Christy DeSmith of the The Harvard Gazette described the book as “the culmination of nearly two decades of scholarly detective work including archival deep dives, literary analysis, partnerships with descendants, and even forensic document analysis.” Harvard Professor and Hutchins Center Director Henry Louis Gates, who first published “The Bondwoman’s Narrative” in 2002, dubbed Hecimovich’s work as “the greatest discovery in the history of African American literature.”

Hecimovich is a Hutchins Family Fellow at Harvard University and professor of English at Furman. He is the author of six books and edited volumes. He received his Ph.D. in English from Vanderbilt University.

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