2024 One Maryland One Book

Announcing the 2024 One Maryland One Book:



Myriam J. A. Chancy

Under the theme of Restorative Futures, our selection committee has generated a list that includes literary, speculative and science fiction, Afrofuturism, and creative nonfiction. The authors behind our 2024 One Maryland One Book Top Ten come from far and wide: three local Marylanders, many from across the country, and a few from across the world. These books speak to how we may come from different places, but come together to stake a better world tomorrow.

Join thousands of other Marylanders at one of the many book discussions and related programs happening around the state this fall. Keep an eye on our Event Calendar for updates. All One Maryland One Book events listed are open to the public and FREE!

How can I take part?

Anyone can participate in OMOB! If you’re a bookworm or part of a book club, all you have to do is grab your copy of What Storm, What Thunder at a library or bookstore near you and start reading! Join us for programs starting this fall and connect with your community.

How can my organization become a program partner?

Maryland Humanities invites libraries, schools, and other community or cultural organizations to sign up as a programming partner. We offers free support materials—Reader’s Guides, Teacher’s Guides, bookmarks, and posters— with the agreement that partners will hold or conduct programs or events related to What Storm, What Thunder this fall.


  • Synopsis

    At the end of a long, sweltering day, an earthquake of 7.0 magnitude shakes the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince. Award-winning author Myriam J. A. Chancy masterfully charts the inner lives of the characters affected by the disaster—Richard, an expat and wealthy water-bottling executive with a secret daughter; the daughter, Anne, an architect who drafts affordable housing structures for a global NGO; a small-time drug trafficker, Leopold, who pines for a beautiful call girl; Sonia and her business partner, Dieudonné, who are followed by a man they believe is the vodou spirit of death; Didier, an emigrant musician who drives a taxi in Boston; Sara, a mother haunted by the ghosts of her children in an IDP camp; her husband, Olivier, an accountant forced to abandon the wife he loves; their son, Jonas, who haunts them both; and Ma Lou, the old woman selling produce in the market who remembers them all.

    Brilliantly crafted, fiercely imagined, and deeply haunting, What Storm, What Thunder is a singular, stunning record, a reckoning of the heartbreaking trauma of disaster, and—at the same time—an unforgettable testimony to the tenacity of the human spirit.


    Provided by Publisher.

  • Author Bio

    Myriam J. A. Chancy is the author most recently of the novel Village Weavers (Tin House). Her previous novel, What Storm, What Thunder, was named a best book of the year by NPR, Kirkus, Library Journal, the Boston Globe, and The Globe and Mail ; shortlisted for the CALIBA Golden Poppy Award and Aspen Words Literary Prize; longlisted for the Brooklyn Public Library Book Prize and the OCM Bocas Prize; and awarded an ABA from the Before Columbus Foundation. Her past novels include The Loneliness of Angels, winner of the Guyana Prize for Literature Caribbean Award in Fiction; The Scorpion’s Claw; and Spirit of Haiti, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize’s Best First Book in Canada and the Caribbean. She is also the author of several academic monographs, including Harvesting Haiti: Reflections on Unnatural Disasters and Framing Silence: Revolutionary Novels by Haitian Women. Her recent writings have appeared in Whetstone Magazine, Electric Literature, and Guernica. She is a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and HBA Chair in the Humanities at Scripps College in California.


    Author photo credit: N. Affonso.

  • Read the Author's Reaction

    I was so incredibly heartened when I learned that my novel, What Storm, What Thunder had made the longlist for One Maryland One Book and then rejoiced when I saw it appear on the selection committee’s shortlist alongside Rion Amilcar Scott’s The World Doesn’t Require You and Susan Muaddi Darraj’s Behind You is The Sea. Landing on both lists ensures that the titles so named circulate more widely, reaching readers who might not otherwise know about them and the realities from which they have emerged.

    The selection committee’s choice of What Storm, What Thunder as this year’s One Maryland One Book read is incredibly humbling. The novel takes its title in part from an epigraph by Frederick Douglass, himself from the Baltimore area, writing in his essay, “What to the Negro is the fourth of the July?” in 1852: “For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.” Of course, Douglass was not calling for disaster but for seismic change in America’s social order in ways that I believe the reality of the earthquake called for in the Haitian context in more recent years. It is not lost on me that Maryland has been home to many people from what was once called Saint Domingue, from the period of the Haitian Revolution to Douglass’s appointment as US ambassador to Haiti from 1889-1890, to the more recent influx of Haitian emigrants. I look forward to being in conversation with readers about these cultural connections, not least of which are the struggles for freedom engaged with in both regions.

    I wrote What Storm, What Thunder as a means to memorialize the events and aftermath of the January 12, 2010 Haiti earthquake, its effects and after effects for Haitians at its epicenter as well as those who found themselves in the Diaspora, watching from afar. Its writing was a grief-process at the same time as it was a means to restore humanity to Haitian representation in the popular imagination. It is also meant to provoke readers to think about what challenges they might encounter should they experience a natural disaster themselves, one that might be further compounded by political precarity due to their class, race or other social demarcations: How would they react, who would they assist, what alliances might they need to rethink or form in order to move a larger community towards a productive future?

    I look forward to being in conversation with Maryland readers to consider with them how we might move together towards restorative futures in these troubled times.

Please also check out our two runner-up finalists:


Behind You is The Sea
by Susan Muaddi Darraj

Follow three Palestinian immigrant families in Baltimore from weddings to funerals, summer vacations to grueling jobs, we follow different characters in each chapter, as they navigate across divides of class, generation, and religion.

(Harpervia, 2024)
Buy on Bookshop.org

The World Doesn’t Require You
by Rion Amilcar Scott

Welcome to Cross River, Maryland, established by the leaders of the country’s only successful slave revolt and is populated by residents (past, present, and future) who face trials and squabbles told through lyrical prose that blends magical realism and social commentary.

(Liverlight, 2020)
Buy on Bookshop.org


  • Top Ten

    1. Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adeji-Brenyah
    2. What Storm, What Thunder by Myriam J. A. Chancy
    3. Behind You is The Sea by Susan Muaddi Darraj
    4. The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans
    5. How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures by Sabrina Imbler
    6. How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue
    7. How High We Go In the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu
    8. Noor by Nnedi Okorafor
    9. The World Doesn’t Require You by Rion Amilcar Scott
    10. The Immortal King Rao by Vauhini Vara

  • About our theme

    Our 2024 theme is: Restorative Futures

    In a time of uncertain futures, knowing how we will live tomorrow depends on considering, reckoning, and restoring the issues of today. These could be monumental ones of politics, environment, and society; intimate ones of the self, relationships, and daily life; or more likely, a combination of both.

    Literature helps us envision this. Across genres, writers show us possibilities for who we can be, as individuals and communities, and what struggles we must come to terms with to get there. What books have shown you a future that compels you to reckon with it in the present?

  • About the Selection Process

    Each fall, Maryland Humanities sends out a call for suggestions to the general public, educators, librarians, schools, book clubs, and other partners. The call for suggestions is based on an annual theme and pre-determined criteria. Maryland Humanities staff researches all suggestions to make sure they fit the established criteria. Then the selection committee takes the lead, narrowing the list of potential choices to a short list for review.


    • Top Ten – January 2024
    • Top Three – February 2024
    • Final Pick – March 2024

  • About 2023's Selection

    Our 2023 OMOB selection was There There by Tommy Orange.

    Winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize, There There weaves together a cast of twelve interconnected characters from across Native communities, as they converge toward the Big Oakland Powwow. Some contend with sobriety and mental health, while others desire to preserve cultural dance and history. A few, meanwhile, plan to rob the powwow’s contest cash prize. Through these multiple facets, filled with pain, humor, sorrow, and ambition, Tommy Orange gives readers a riveting, modern portrait of the urban Indian experience.