News & Media

NPR’s All Things Considered

Newton spoke with Ari Shapiro about Ancestor Trouble for All Things Considered.

New York Times Book Review Rave, Podcast, and Editors’ Choice Pick

“Extraordinary and wide-ranging . . . a literary feat that simultaneously builds and excavates identity.” Kerri Arsenault praises Ancestor Trouble in the New York Times Book Review. On the New York Times Book Review podcast, Newton discussed the book with editor John Williams. Ancestor Trouble was also an Editors’ Choice pick.

Roxane Gay’s Audacious Book Club

Ancestor Trouble was Roxane Gay’s April book club selection.

Boston Globe Review

 Writing for the Boston Globe, Lorraine Berry calls Ancestor Trouble a “brilliant mix of personal memoir and cultural observation” and “beautiful and complexly nuanced,” with “memoir parts [that] read like a suspense novel.”

Esquire’s Best Books

Esquire‘s Adrienne Westenfeld names Ancestor Trouble one of the best books of the year.

Time Magazine Excerpt

Time featured an adapted excerpt on Newton’s mysterious great-great aunt and self-given namesake Maude Newton, who turned out to have been a writer, but not the kind Newton would have hoped.

Wall Street Journal Excerpt

“The stories we tell ourselves about our ancestors have the power to shape us, in some ways nearly as much as our genetics do.” The Wall Street Journal featured an excerpt from Ancestor Trouble.

Word-of-Mouth Buzz

Kirkus lists Ancestor Trouble as one of “13 Books With Word-of-Mouth Buzz.”

First Excerpt: Esquire

“I have loved my father and I have feared him… but I have never understood him.” Esquire ran an adapted excerpt from Ancestor Trouble.

New Republic Review

Ancestor Trouble does what all truly great memoirs do: It takes an intensely personal… story and uses it to frame larger, more complex questions about how identity is formed,” Colin Dickey writes at New Republic.

Los Angeles Review of Books Praise

Writing for the Los Angeles Review of Books, Lesley Heiser cites the “great beauty, poignancy, and power” of Ancestor Trouble.

BookPage Profile and Starred Review

“Making it personal is the most powerful force we have for change.” Harvey Freedenberg profiled Newton for BookPage and also gave the book a starred review, calling Ancestor Trouble a “revealing family memoir with a well-researched and thoughtful exploration of heredity and genealogy.”

Dallas Morning News Q&A

Writer Shawna Seed talked with Newton about Newton’s book and family history, and “the pull of her Texan roots.”

Shondaland Interview

For Shondaland, Sarah Neilson interviewed Newton and says her “discoveries and reckonings with her family history serve as a doorway into a vast and beautifully reported story.”

Vanity Fair’s 7 Books We Couldn’t Put Down

Keziah Weir includes Ancestor Trouble among the books recommended by Vanity Fair staff in April.

Wired’s 15 Books to Read This Summer

“Newton’s book feels painfully relevant.” Ancestor Trouble makes Wired’s list of books to read this summer.

Conversation with Bloom

Bloom’s Lisa Peet interviewed Newton about ancestors, imaginative spirituality, and old-school blogging.

Vulture’s Best New Releases

For New York Magazine’s Vulture, Emma Alpern includes Ancestor Trouble among the best new and upcoming releases in March.

New York Times’ Recommended March Books

In the New York Times‘ list of fourteen anticipated March books, Joumana Khatib leads with Ancestor Trouble, noting that Newton “touches on intergenerational trauma, mental illness, the influence of religion and more.”

LA Times’ 10 Books for Your March Reading List

In the Los Angeles Times, Bethanne Patrick praises Ancestor Trouble’s “fluid, thoughtful prose about family and falsehoods,” saying that Newton “leaves no gravestone unturned in her investigation of what makes genealogy so compelling.”

Los Angeles Times Review

“Newton is a logical thinker and a hyperacute observer, with a prodigious memory and a lacerating honesty. She’s a transparent and at times lyrical writer,” writes Mary Ann Gwinn, in a mixed review for the Los Angeles Times.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution Review

Writing for the AJC, Jeff Calder calls Ancestor Trouble “captivating,” and says the book is distinguished by “wide learning and roving speculation.”

Minneapolis Star-Tribune Review

Reviewing for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Katherine A. Powers judges Ancestor Trouble a “passionate memoir and investigation of inheritance and bloodlines” and a “fascinating, well written book,” in a mixed review.

Economist Review

“At a moment of reckoning over America’s violent history, [Ancestor Trouble] is a salutary call for an ‘acknowledgment genealogy’ of the harms that are hidden in many family trees,” Alix Christie writes, in a review for the Economist.

Washington Post Review

In a Washington Post review, Libby Copeland calls Ancestor Trouble “a valuable and bracing portrait of one American family tree that we know represents many, many more.”

NPR Review

Reviewing for NPR, Kristen Martin praises Newton’s critical eye on genetics and epigenetics.

BookPage Writers to Watch

“Newton is a master at taking a complex, far-reaching topic and making it magnificently intimate.” BookPage names Newton one of “13 Writers to Watch in 2022.”

The Observer’s Memoirs to Ring in the Spring

“With the rigor of a historian and the voice of a mystery writer, Newton pulls the reader into a philosophical exploration of trauma and heritage… that brings to bear America’s original sins and the bonds that endure despite all manner of wrenching tests.” Lauren LeBlanc chooses Ancestor Trouble as one of the best memoirs to ring in the spring.

CNN’s March Books Recommendations

CNN includes Ancestor Trouble among their anticipated March books.

Poets and Writers’ Ten Questions

Newton answered Poets & Writers’ “Ten Questions.”

Interview with The Rumpus

Newton spoke with The Rumpus’ Liz Button about “the intoxicating pull of discovering our forebears’ secrets, and how connecting with our ancestors can help us reckon with our country’s difficult past.”

Anticipation for Ancestor Trouble

The Millions, Lit Hub, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, the Chicago Review of BooksDeep South Magazine, the Southern Review of Books, Apartment Therapy, and Goodreads readers were anticipating Ancestor Trouble in March/April. 

Apple Books Pick

Ancestor Trouble was an Apple Books pick for April.

Amazon Editors’ Pick

Amazon editors recommended Ancestor Trouble as one of the “best biographies and memoirs” in April.

Jeanna Kadlec Interview

Newton discussed Ancestor Trouble with Jeanna Kadlec for Kadlec’s Astrology for Writers newsletter.

Starred Review from Kirkus

In a starred review of Ancestor Trouble, Kirkus says “the current wave of interest in genealogy, heredity, family history, and responsibility for past injustices crescendos in a comprehensive work combining personal narrative and reporting,” and calls the book “Exhaustively researched, engagingly presented, and glowing with intelligence and honesty.”

Nice Booklist Review

Booklist’s reviewer praises Newton’s “Sherlockian verve and an academician’s tenacity” and concludes that she “is just looking for some peace of mind, and her approach may help others realize what a worthy goal that is.”

Esquire’s Most Anticipated Books

Esquire calls Ancestor Trouble “riveting” and praises the book’s blend of memoir and cultural criticism.

Oprah Daily’s 50 Most Anticipated Books

Oprah Daily includes Ancestor Trouble on their list of books most anticipated in the year to come—at #5. “[A] powerful debut,” they say.

BookPage’s Most Anticipated Books

“We suspect that the hype for this one is real, and then some,” BookPage says.

Time’s 21 Most Anticipated Books

Ancestor Trouble made TIME’s list of the twenty-one most anticipated books of 2022.

Publishers Weekly Review

An admiring Publishers Weekly review of Ancestor Trouble says, “Newton debuts with a masterful mix of memoir and cultural criticism that wrestles with America’s ancestry through her own family’s complex past. . . . The result is a transfixing meditation on the inextricable ways the past informs the present.”

Praise from Library Journal

Library Journal judges Ancestor Trouble “engaging and thoroughly researched,” recommending it for fans of “memoirs, family secrets, genealogy, and the sociological makeup threading U.S. history.”

Interviewed at Bitter Southerner’s Salvation South Project

Carolyn Kellogg interviewed Newton about Ancestor Trouble.

Books Are Magic Most Anticipated Books of Winter and Spring 2022

Brooklyn bookseller Colleen of Books Are Magic includes Ancestor Trouble among the bookstore’s most anticipated 2022 books and calls the premise “fascinating.”

The Millions’ 2022 Preview

“An unflinching exploration into the history of a troubled family tree and the universal but also peculiarly American need to discover ‘roots,’” The Millions calls Ancestor Trouble

Literary Hub’s Most Anticipated Books of 2022

Literary Hub includes Ancestor Trouble among the site’s most-anticipated, and Eliza Smith calls the book an “intricately researched account of the most universal subject.” 

Thrillist’s Winter and Spring 2022 Book Picks

Thrillist features Ancestor Trouble among 27 book picks for the winter and spring. “Veteran magazine journalist Maud Newton grew up in a fundamentalist household, with an ancestry that involved murder, mental institutions, Puritan-era witches, the Great Depression, and a lot of rescue cats,” says Matthew Jacobs. “Newton’s debut book is a memoir that traces her genealogy as a way of using history to explore the present.”

Goodreads Members’ Most Anticipated Books of 2022

Ancestor Trouble is listed as one of Goodreads members’ most anticipated books of 2022.

The Week’s 2022 Picks

The Week’s books to read in 2022 include Ancestor Trouble.

Literary Hub’s Books Writers Loved in 2021

For Literary Hub, Alexander Chee writes, “at this very moment, I’m riveted by Maud Newton’s forthcoming nonfiction book Ancestor Trouble, on what she discovered about white supremacy while examining her family’s legends.” On Twitter he later compared the book to “following a lit fuse through the dark.”

She Reads’ Book Club Picks

Ancestor Trouble is included among She Reads’ 2002 Book Club Picks.

Publishers Weekly Feature

In an Open Book installment for Publishers Weekly, featuring Maud, her agent Julie Barer, and her editor Andrea Walker, Louisa Ermelino calls Ancestor Trouble “a marvel: absorbing, addictive, informative.”

Advance Praise in Boston Globe

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, author of The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois and The Age of Phillis offered praise for Ancestor Trouble in The Boston Globe while in the process of reading a galley of the book. “Fantastic…. well researched, well written, and juicy,” she called it. “I love a good juicy historical book.”

Bookforum Notice

Thanks to Bookforum for noting the upcoming publication of Ancestor Trouble (next March).

Cover Reveal

Lit Hub unveiled the cover of Ancestor Trouble (March 29, 2022), along with some insights from designer Rachel Ake and from Maud.

New Website

Thank you to Lorissa Shepstone and the rest of the Being Wicked team for a gorgeous new website, the first complete redesign since 2002.

Prior Media

In the past, Maud’s essays and fiction have been praised by the New York Times, the New Yorker online, Elle, KirkusPublisher’s Weekly, the Paris Review online, and others.


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