The World Is Full of Champions


The World is Full of Champions spans more than thirty years from the ’60s to the late ’90s in race-torn Philadelphia as two proud Black families—one wealthy, the other not—confront major change when tragedy strikes and the daughter of the working-class Smythe family falls in love with the son of the affluent Whitman family.

Georgia Smythe and her mother live on the rough side of town. As a young girl, she loses her father in a tragic mining accident, but overcomes her loss to become a thoughtful and attractive young woman. She falls in love with Lawrence, the handsome son of the Whitman family for whom her mother works as a maid. The Whitmans, recovering from the death of Lawrence’s brother in a hit-and-run car accident, have other ideas about whom their remaining son should marry and are concerned about how such a liaison will affect their social position.

How will the two families deal with Georgia and Lawrence’s relationship and the unintended divulging of a closely guarded secret?

The World Is Full Of Champions is a uniquely fascinating novel of manners that examines overarching questions of family secrets, social pressure, and generational trauma in the little-known world of Philadelphia’s black bourgeoisie.” —Andrea Lee, Author, National Book Award Finalist

“You need to read this book if you want to understand the clash between want and privilege—and ultimately hope—in Black society.” —Andrew J. Young, Civil Rights Leader and Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN

“Debut novelist, Julie Sullivan, has written an important book that touches upon a less talked about topic related to social justice in America: the deep chasm between the haves and the have nots in African American society. A must read.” —Busy Philipps, Actress and New York Times Bestselling Author

“While the book is set in 1980s Philadelphia, this book is highly relevant for our times. Julie Sullivan delves into the behind the scenes matter of U.S. society’s little known Black caste system, one that is fueled and fed by historical racism.” —Reverend Al Sharpton, MSNBC Commentator and Founder of The National Action Network

“This is a timely and important book that exposes U.S. society at its fringes and how material privilege not only affects the struggles of Black folks from the outside, from endemic racism, but from inside that world as well.” —Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr., Civil Rights Leader