The author of a novel believed to have been written by an African-American woman in the 1850s has been identified as Hannah Bond, who escaped slavery in North Carolina dressed as a man. Her novel, The Bondwoman's Narrative, was discovered and published in 2002, becoming a bestseller and earning praise for its detailed account of Southern plantation life. The author, who the manuscript identified as "Hannah Craft," was believed to be the first African-American female novelist. Now she is: Gregg Hecimovich, a professor of English at Winthrop University in South Carolina, says he identified Bond through wills, diaries, and public records. His findings, which he will detail in an upcoming book, also explain how a slave with little access to education could have been influenced by classics like Jane Eyre and Bleak House.
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