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Hear Randall Williams Discuss Louis Hughes’s Thirty Years a Slave

Darrell Snodgrass of Checking on the Arts, a WKNO radio program, interviewed NewSouth Books Editor-in-Chief Randall Williams about the memoir Thirty Years a Slave: From Bondage to Freedom. Together, Snodgrass and Williams examine the book and its many facets, from birth of Louis Hughes into slavery in Virginia, to his escape from slavery and career as a nurse. Williams remarks that he’s “published close to three-hundred books now … and I think this is one of the best we’ve ever published … It will open a lot of peoples’ eyes to the realities of what slavery was like.”

Thirty Years a Slave adds to a small but growing number of available slave narratives. “There are the few celebrated [slave narratives] like Frederick Douglas,” Williams notes, “but [Hughes] was an unknown figure, and he gives us this inside look at what the plantation culture and the slave culture was like.”

Lisen to the full interview on the NewSouth Books website.

Hailed by Snodgrass as a “remarkably compelling” narrative, Louis Hughes autobiography Thirty Years a Slave tells in astonishingly vivid detail the fascinating story of slavery in the last decades of the antebellum South from the perspective of a self-educated slave. Hughes moves his readers as he tells about his five attempts at escape, about the time he stood by while watching his wife whipped mercilessly, and the joyous reunion with his brother whom he had not seen since they were slave children in Virginia.

Thirty Years a Slave: From Bondage to Freedom is available from NewSouth Books,, as well as your favorite online and retail booksellers.