Jeffrey Dale Lofton

Praise

The Reviews Are In & Everyone Loves
Red Clay Suzie!

Critics and the public alike have lauded Red Clay Suzie for its rich, vivid descriptive detail and its heartbreaking depiction of life lived on the fringes.

Take a look yourself at what reviewers and fellows authors have said about this debut novel and its distinctive Southern voice. 

The South kicks its feet up and gets down to business telling this tale through the lens of Philbet, a young boy growing up sweet, gay, disfigured, and defying social norms. The grace he extends toward his ... often cruel beloved makes him an endearing and poetic narrator. This story poked at all the tender spots inside me and reminded me of what was real and important and wisely dusted off for daily use from those growing up days.

Kimberly Brock author, The Lost Book of Eleanor Dare

Fabulous and heart-wrenching debut novel.

Rasheed Newson author, My Government Means to Kill Me

Lofton’s descriptive prose is spellbinding; having never been to Georgia myself, I feel like I now know exactly what the air tastes like and how the red clay feels beneath my fingers in the garden. Taken together, the author has created an almost impressionist masterpiece of inner machinations and sensory experiences that leave you pleasantly dazed and content when you finally turn the last page.

San Francisco Book Review

You can't help but root for Philbet, the unforgettable hero of Jeffrey Dale Lofton's arresting debut Red Clay Suzie. I was moved by the insights and settings of this book and by the vivid depiction of a unique childhood that feels universal in its longing.

Christopher Castellani author, Leading Men

If you've never set foot on the red-clay soil of Georgia, the heartfelt prose of Jeffrey Dale Lofton's Red Clay Suzie will take you there. This book is an intimate exploration of people, place, and identity, one that through its honesty - as well as colorful language and vivid description - opens up the idea of the South into one that is more inclusive and real.

W. Ralph Eubanks author, A Place Like Mississippi: A Journey Through a Real and Imagined Literary Landscape

From a new, pitch-perfect, Southern voice, a story so close to the heart you can almost hear it beating.

James Hart author, Lucky Jim

Red Clay Suzie’s Philbet Lawson joins Scout Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird) and Frankie Addams (The Member of the Wedding) in Southern literature’s pantheon of outsider children. Read Red Clay Suzie and cheer on Philbet, a new literary hero.

Alice Powers writer and editor, In Mind series

This is much more than a deeply moving story well told by a unique, new voice in Southern literature. It is a lyrical, poetic, and layered work of highest literary art. Red Clay Suzie belongs in the high school English syllabus.

Elaine Greenstone educator, former International Baccalaureate examiner in English, curriculum specialist

The South kicks its feet up and gets down to business telling this tale through the lens of Philbet, a young boy growing up sweet, gay, disfigured, and defying social norms. The grace he extends toward his ... often cruel beloved makes him an endearing and poetic narrator. This story poked at all the tender spots inside me and reminded me of what was real and important and wisely dusted off for daily use from those growing up days.

Kimberly Brock author, The Lost Book of Eleanor Dare

"Fabulous and heart-wrenching debut novel."

Rasheed Newson author, My Government Means to Kill Me

You can't help but root for Philbet, the unforgettable hero of Jeffrey Dale Lofton's arresting debut Red Clay Suzie. I was moved by the insights and settings of this book and by the vivid depiction of a unique childhood that feels universal in its longing.

Christopher Castellani author, Leading Men

If you've never set foot on the red-clay soil of Georgia, the heartfelt prose of Jeffrey Dale Lofton's Red Clay Suzie will take you there. This book is an intimate exploration of people, place, and identity, one that through its honesty - as well as colorful language and vivid description - opens up the idea of the South into one that is more inclusive and real.

W. Ralph Eubanks author, A Place Like Mississippi: A Journey Through a Real and Imagined Literary Landscape

From a new, pitch-perfect, Southern voice, a story so close to the heart you can almost hear it beating.

James Hart author, Lucky Jim

Red Clay Suzie’s Philbet Lawson joins Scout Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird) and Frankie Addams (The Member of the Wedding) in Southern literature’s pantheon of outsider children. Read Red Clay Suzie and cheer on Philbet, a new literary hero.

Alice Powers writer and editor, In Mind series

This is much more than a deeply moving story well told by a unique, new voice in Southern literature. It is a lyrical, poetic, and layered work of highest literary art. Red Clay Suzie belongs in the high school English syllabus.

Elaine Greenstone educator, former International Baccalaureate examiner in English, curriculum specialist

Praise

"This fantastic novel is striking, and the storytelling is strong. You won't be able to put it down. At least I couldn't."
Morgan Talty
author, Night of the Living Rez
Red Clay Suzie’s Philbet Lawson joins Scout Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird) and Frankie Addams (The Member of the Wedding) in Southern literature’s pantheon of outsider children. Read Red Clay Suzie and cheer on Philbet, a new literary hero.”
Alice Leccese Powers
writer and editor of the best-selling In Mind series
"There's a richness to this heartfelt, heartwarming debut. The sensory detail is exquisite."
Zak Salih
author, Let's Get Back to the Party
If you've never set foot on the red-clay soil of Georgia, the heartfelt prose of Jeffrey Dale Lofton's Red Clay Suzie will take you there. This book is an intimate exploration of people, place, and identity, one that through its honesty - as well as colorful language and vivid description - opens up the idea of the South into one that is more inclusive and real.
W. Ralph Eubanks
author, A Place Like Mississippi: A Journey Through a Real and Imagined Literary Landscape
"If eleven-year-old me had had a book like this to read, what a joy that would have been. It’s beautiful. It’s important. It’s F@#%ing magic."
Pete Cross
Audie and Earphones Award-Winning Audiobook Narrator and Producer
"This is much more than a deeply moving story well told by a unique, new voice in Southern literature. It is a lyrical, poetic, and layered work of highest literary art. Red Clay Suzie belongs in the high school English syllabus."
Elaine Greenstone
educator, former International Baccalaureate examiner in English, curriculum specialist
"The South kicks its feet up and gets down to business telling this tale through the lens of Philbet, a young boy growing up sweet, gay, disfigured, and defying social norms. The grace he extends toward his ... often cruel beloved makes him an endearing and poetic narrator. This story poked at all the tender spots inside me and reminded me of what was real and important and wisely dusted off for daily use from those growing up days."
Kimberly Brock
author, The Lost Book of Eleanor Dare
“From a new, pitch-perfect, Southern voice, a story so close to the heart you can almost hear it beating.”
James Hart
author, Lucky Jim
Red Clay Suzie is a descriptive triumph, an extraordinary, beautiful book.”
Lindy Woodhead
author, War Paint and Shopping, Seduction & Mr. Selfridge
“Jeffrey Dale Lofton writes movingly about isolation and a young gay man's hunger to connect. Red Clay Suzie offers a lesson in what it takes to thrive in a world that’s intent on building fences, and it does so with affection and sweetness and a belief that the deepest change is not only possible, but inevitable.”
Paul Lisicky
author, Later: My Life at the Edge of the World
"Reading this, I felt like I was on the porch swing of my first house, a 4-room cottage in the middle of North Carolina, sipping lemonade and listening to the crickets and cicadas. It's a slow, gentle burn."
Ellery Adams
NYT & USA Today bestselling author
"Red Clay Suzie brings readers a new literary hero"
Georgia Voice
“Make a glass of sweet tea, pull up a porch chair, and a cloth to mop your brow. Red Clay Suzie roots readers in the pacing of the South as Lofton coaxes his people from the heat and the rain and the gardens and the cars. It is a journey of refuge and emergence—helped and hindered by family and friends. Even through the characters’ most painful moments of discovery and loss, it is an absolute joy to read. Three cheers to Jeffrey Dale Lofton and his stellar debut novel.”
Claire Green
former President of Parents' Choice Foundation
"Lofton’s descriptive prose is spellbinding; having never been to Georgia myself, I feel like I now know exactly what the air tastes like and how the red clay feels beneath my fingers in the garden. Taken together, the author has created an almost impressionist masterpiece of inner machinations and sensory experiences that leave you pleasantly dazed and content when you finally turn the last page."
San Francisco Book Review
"Jeffrey Dale Lofton is a writer’s writer whose strong, authorial voice captures your imagination with an unshakable grip."
Willie Lewis
PEN/Faulkner board member emeritus, editor of Snakes: An Anthology of Serpent Tales
"A top recommendation for any library."
Midwest Book Review
"You can't help but root for Philbet, the unforgettable hero of Jeffrey Dale Lofton's arresting debut Red Clay Suzie. I was moved by the insights and settings of this book and by the vivid depiction of a unique childhood that feels universal in its longing."
Christopher Castellani
author, Leading Men
"This novel is filled with lovely metaphors, such as Georgia's clay soil. Philbert's longing is for Knox is beautifully described."
BlueInk Review
“We care what happens to this observant voice searching for the handbook of life.”
Joanne Leedom-Ackerman
author, No Marble Angels and Burning Distance

“Lofton lovingly crafts Philbet’s direct and unashamed voice as an expression of heart, at once endearingly naive and surprisingly sophisticated.”

“Lofton’s descriptive prose is spellbinding;  I feel like I now know exactly what the air tastes like and how the red clay feels beneath my fingers in the garden.”

“Calling it a page turner does not do it justice … I was utterly enthralled.”

“He was that night a silver-tongued devil, a redneck raconteur. And he either said something Uncle Kingston didn’t like, or he was getting too much attention for his well-observed wit.”

from Red Clay Suzie

Recognition

The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize
Longlist

Seven Hills Literary Prize for Fiction

Readers Are Having Their Say

"Philbet was such a wonderful character. I could clearly picture the small southern town where he grew up. My heart ached for him time and time again as he dealt with small minded relatives, the insensitive gym coach and other bullies who crossed his path. The bond he had with his granddaddy really touched my heart. Unconditional love and support from a beloved grandparent is unbeatable. The author’s note and foreword were the perfect beginnings to this beautiful book."
Christy T.
"Intimate and beautifully written, authentic and immersive, Red Clay Suzie portrays the life of Philbet, a physically misshapen gay boy growing up in rural Georgia. His story is told with such sweetness and truth, the book is destined to become a classic of Southern literature."
Christine N.
"Like the staining Georgia red clay dirt itself, the story of young Philbet, his love for cars, his heart’s longings, and his granddaddy’s gentle life lessons will stay with you. If you’ve ever felt on the fringes, frayed and different you will find common ground and comfort here."
T. B.
"I’m not exaggerating when I say this is one of the best books I have ever read. Lofton’s vivid descriptions of place, people, and heartache are breathtaking. Lofton is an extraordinary storyteller who wrote a gem of a novel, and a debut novel at that."
Helen B.
"Ok- What great story telling! The best part about it is feeling that the lives of the characters are real! Almost like living in the book with all of them. I was drawn in immediately and looked forward to the next chapter from beginning to end. I couldn’t help but fall in love with Philbet. He is so sincere, so innocent, really uplifting in a way. And he puts his heart right out there! You’ve got to read this book. Thanks Jeffrey, can’t wait to read what’s next!"
Marjorie S.
"Like all good books, I did not want this to end. The plot and setting are both relatable, the characters feel like friends. I want EVERY southern person I know to read this book. Heck, all people I know should read this book - such a fresh perspective on important lessons."
Joy L.

© Jeffrey Dale Lofton 2024

© Jeffrey Dale Lofton 2024