Jacaranda Books have been featured in The Bookseller's 2022 follow-up to their landmark publication, The Black Issue, with founder Valerie Brandes giving an extended interview.
Guest edited by Natasha Onwuemezi, The Black Issue features interviews from across the industry in a reflection on the Black publishing experience. Addressing the periodical in her editor's letter, Onwuemezi wrote: "A common theme across this issue is people in publishing not seeing spaces or routes for them in the industry, so they are creating their own: Valerie Brandes did it with Jacaranda."
"Forbes' 30 Under 30, Powerlist's most influential Black Britons, The Bookseller's Rising Stars — these are just a few of the accolades that have been bestowed upon the staff of indie publisher Jacaranda Books, which this year is celebrating 10 years in business," writes The Bookseller.
Reflecting on the work put in to get Jacaranda to where it is today, Valerie revealed: "The overnight success you hear about is years, decades even, in the making."
"From those humble beginnings, Brandes is now firmly situated as one of publishing's foremost changemakers," Onwuemezi states. "In 2017 and 2018, she was named one of the 100 most influential Black Britons by Powerlist, and in 2022, she even replaced Angel Tube station on the Northern Line on TfL's City of Women commemorative map to mark International Women's Day."
"Brandes says the Twenty in 2020 list is the press' best achievement: "[It's] the most groundbreaking and impactful publishing we have undertaken, and it is deeply gratifying to see over a quarter of the list recognised on major award longlists and shortlists... This entire year of publishing directly and emphatically counters any notion that Black British writing cannot compare on quality, marketability or sales."
But while 2020 was "undoubtedly a pivotal year for the press, Brandes stresses that "prior to that we had eight years of award-winning books and huge accomplishments across the list, discovering new voices, bringing award-winning books to the culture"."
"I'm proud of the fact that we're still here. Being able to continue publishing in this vein is something that excites all of us at Jacaranda."
Valerie's complete interview is available to read in its entirety (along with the rest of the Black Issue 2022) over on The Bookseller here.
For more 10th Anniversary content, stay tuned...