Jennifer Smith Turner

The NYC BIG BOOK AWARD recognized Child Bride by Jennifer Smith Turner in the category of Women’s Fiction as a winner. This is the second national literary award Jennifer has received. In April, the month Child Bride was released, the debut novel was named the best Ebook in fiction for 2020 by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. In 2020, the NYC Big Book Award once again achieved worldwide participation. Our award-winning authors are from many different backgrounds which enriches the program. We are proud of such diversity of winners and distinguished favorites in the annual NYC Big Book Award. “We are pleased to highlight these books, recognize excellence, and share the authors’ achievements,” said awards sponsor Gabrielle Olczak. The awards program “foments a strong interest in these authors and publishing houses and we expect our winners to receive a heightened level of attention.” Olczak went on to say that “excellent books can be found globally, and we are happy to help bring them to a larger audience.”
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In her third published book and first novel, Jennifer Smith Turner writes a lyrical story
about the coming-of-age journey of a young girl from the South who joins
the African-American migration to the North—and finds her way through challenges and
unforeseen obstacles to womanhood.
In the segregated South of the mid-1900s, fourteen-year-old Nell bears witness to a world
that embraces the oppression of women. She is fascinated with the prospect of being an
independent person—but when she turns sixteen, she is married off and brought to the city
of Boston as a bride.
Nell is a shy girl who must quickly learn how to be a wife and mother. She soon discovers
that she must acquire new skills to navigate the unknown territory of the North, as well as
her relationship with her husband, Henry, who is controlling and emotionally abusive.
After giving birth to three children, her body begins to fail her and Henry, concerned for
her health, pulls away from her physically. But this void of intimacy drives Nell into the
arms of another man, Charles—an encounter that leads to another pregnancy, and a new
unanticipated adventure for Nell.

“Turner’s warm and personal narrative brings to life the vigor and interdependence of
Black communities in both the South and the North of the mid-20th century…uplifting and
dynamic…A captivating story of a strong African American woman who pursues her
dreams.”— Kirkus Reviews

“Turner’s character work is excellent…Nell in particular is a complex young woman,
whose desire for love, family, and learning make her easy to connect with. Turner’s sec-
ondary characters are equally fleshed out and complex: Phyllis Leonard, a minister’s wife,
is generous but strict in her morals, accepting Nell into the church-fold but masterminding
Henry’s plan to evict Nell from their home after her infidelity. Turner has crafted an acces-
sible and absorbing historical drama about one woman’s path to creating the life and
home she wants…” —BookLife Review

“A gorgeous novel, filled with lush description, powerful characters, and the triumph of a
young woman fighting oppression in all its myriad forms. Jennifer Smith Turner fills each page
with the voice of a poet; a wonderful debut!” –Alexander Weinstein, director of the Martha’s
Vineyard Institute for Creative Writing
Child Bride is available from Amazon, Barns and Noble, Ibooks, Indiebound. The book
is available wherever books are sold.

About the author:

JENNIFER SMITH TURNER is the author of two poetry books; Lost and Found,
Rhyming Verse Honoring African American Heroes and Perennial Secrets, Poetry &
Her work was included in Vineyard Poets, an anthology of poems by
Martha’s Vineyard writers, and in numerous literary publications. Her poems frequently
appear in the Vineyard Gazette. She was featured on National Public Radio’s Faith
Middleton Show and Connecticut Public Television’s poetry evening. She served as a
featured speaker at Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania Kelly Writer’s
House. She worked extensively in the public and private K-12 schools in Connecticut and
Massachusetts bringing poetry to students and educators.
Ms. Turner served as the Interim President/CEO of Newman’s Own Foundation where she
is a Board member. She is the retired CEO of Girl Scouts of Connecticut. During her
professional career she served as an appointed government official with the State of
Connecticut and the City of Hartford, as a corporate and non-profit executive, and as a
member of many academic and non-profit boards of directors.
She received a BA from Union College and her Masters from Fairfield University. She is
the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Hartford.
A native of Boston, MA, Ms. Smith Turner spent most of her professional career in
Connecticut and now resides on Martha’s Vineyard with her husband, Eric Turner.