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Explore our diverse books that centre around the voices and experiences of Black people, people of colour, women and other underrepresented voices. From award-winning literary masterpieces to romantic comedies and short stories, we have curated books for all types of readers.
Feed your mind with the works of brilliant writers including Maame Blue, Shola von Reinhold, Kwame Alexander, Stephen Bourne, Irenosen Okojie, Frances Mensah Williams, Bernice L. McFadden, Masande Ntshanga, Sareeta Domingo, Kim McLarin and many more.
From Elephant and Castle to Southwark, from London Bridge to Westminster, Black History Walks takes you through the historic Black sites around the City of London, and with the companion guide, you'll get more in-depth history of the story of each place and how it links to Africa.
In this two-book guide, you'll get: - Comprehensive coverage of historical places in London that have a relationship with Africa; -How the most touristic attraction are actually hidden gems from Africa; - Connect with places with African roots in this metropolis; - Walking tours that can be self-walked or accompanied with the official Black History Walks tours; - A companion guide to give you more in-depth history of the African relationship with London.
A Quick Ting On: Afrobeats
Afrobeats is a fast-growing genre, one that has carved out a distinct and powerful Black identity rooted within the African continent.
The first book of its kind, A Quick Ting On: Afrobeats chronicles the social and cultural development of the eponymous music genre, tracing its rich history from the African continent all the way to the musical centre of the Western world.
This exciting new book takes a unique look at the music of the African diaspora and their children, delving into how Afrobeats and its sub-genres have provided new articulations of Black identity and pride. It remembers the Afrobeats pioneers and memorable cultural moments, as well as investigating the impact of African migration, travel and modernisation on the genre.
A Quick Ting On: Afrobeats provides an insightful look at how Afrobeats became the explosive music genre it is today.
"So to the person that broke my heart in 2021 by way of a casual voice-note. Thank you." Told from the perspective of some of the finest contemporary Black writers and thinkers, MANDEM is an ode to the moments in our pasts that shape us, and gratitude at being able to appreciate these lessons in the present.
In a beautiful blend of prose and lyricism, each essay sees its author tap into their most vulnerable place - engaging honestly in conversations often silently grappled with by Black British men because of socially enforced beliefs around Black masculinity.
The themes in this essay collection range from the importance of male role-models, and the unique relationship between mother and son to the sexual pressure placed on young heterosexual men, while also asking the question: "what does contemporary Black queerness actually look like?"
Edited by award-winning artist Iggy London and featuring essays from Yomi Sode, Jeffrey Boakye, Christian Adofo, Ashley Hickson-Lovence, Athian Akec, Dipo Faloyin, Okechukwu Nzelu, Phil Samba, Sope Soetan, and Jordan Stephens, MANDEM is an unmissable, thoughtful anthology of Black male expression.
A Quick Ting On: The Black Girl Afro
Black Women's hair is a topic that has been at the centre of contemporary conversation for some time. This informative book explores the rich cultural history of Black Womens' Afros, weaving in anecdotal tales from Black women along the way.
Exploring the ways in which Black women's natural hair is often politicised and judged, A Quick Ting On The Black Girl Afro chronicles the ways in which the styling of Black Women's hair has influenced popular culture and intersected with Black expression.
Complete with intimate interviews and real-life stories about natural hair journeys and the hunt for hair products, A Quick Ting On The Black Girl Afro is a powerful exploration into the Black Woman's Afro - celebrating the versatility and diversity of Black women's natural hair.
A Quick Ting On: Plantain
As seen in Grazia, the Guardian, and more...
Recognised as one of the most beloved fruits of the Black diaspora, Plantain holds profound value within the cultures and communities it is part of.
Compiled for the first time in one vibrant volume, A Quick Ting On: Plantain is an infectious cultural insight into the versatile fruit. Discover its contested historical origins, its multilingual etymology, the biochemistry that sets Plantain apart from regular bananas and, yes, the War of Pronunciation... Is it Plan-tain or Plan-tin?
Containing recipes from across the African continent, the Caribbean, Latin America and South Asia, author Rui Da Silva paints an astonishing international history of Plantain - celebrating food within Black households across the globe as an intimate marker of identity and culture.
From recent developments in farming practices to the effects of food gentrification on working-class Afro-Caribbean communities, Rui also explores the politics behind Plantain. Inflation, Fairtrade, and climate change all have a part to play in the ongoing journey of this coveted fruit.
Unifying stories of innovation, hardship and, above all, love, A Quick Ting On: Plantain is a delicious ode to the intersection of food, culture and humanity.
The Book of Harlan
"Simply miraculous... As her saga becomes ever more spellbinding, so does the reader's astonishment at the magic she creates. This is a story about the triumph of the human spirit over bigotry, intolerance and cruelty, and at the center of The Book of Harlan is the restorative force that is music." - Washington Post
Harlan and his best friend are invited to perform at a popular cabaret in the Parisian enclave of Montmartre, but after the City of Light falls under Nazi occupation, they are thrown into Buchenwald-the notorious concentration camp in Weimar, Germany-irreparably changing the course of Harlan's life.
WINNER of the James Tait Black Prize 2021. WINNER of The Republic of Consciousness Prize 2021.
Lush and frothy, incisive and witty, Shola von Reinhold's decadent queer literary debut immerses readers in the pursuit of aesthetics and beauty, while interrogating the removal and obscurement of Black figures from history.
Solitary Mathilda has long been enamored with the 'Bright Young Things' of the 20s, and throughout her life, her attempts at reinvention have mirrored their extravagance and artfulness. After discovering a photograph of the forgotten Black modernist poet Hermia Druitt, who ran in the same circles as the Bright Young Things that she adores, Mathilda becomes transfixed and resolves to learn as much as she can about the mysterious figure. Her search brings her to a peculiar artists' residency in Dun, a small European town Hermia was known to have lived in during the 30s. The artists' residency throws her deeper into a lattice of secrets and secret societies that takes hold of her aesthetic imagination, but will she be able to break the thrall of her Transfixions?
From champagne theft and Black Modernisms, to art sabotage, alchemy and lotus-eating proto-luxury communist cults, Mathilda's journey through modes of aesthetic expression guides her to truth and the convoluted ways it is made and obscured.
Betty Trask Award winner 2016. A stunning debut from the author of Speak Gigantular.
A fragile outsider living in London, Joy struggles to pull the threads of her life back together after her mother's sudden death. Emptiness consumes her and, needing to fill the gaps of her loss, she finds she is drawn to a unique artefact inherited from her mother - a warrior's head cast in brass that belonged to a king in eighteenth century Benin, Nigeria.
Joy is haunted by a beautiful young woman who appears in her photographs, familiar yet beguilingly distinct, the woman trails her wherever she goes. Joy begins to dream of a different time, a different place. She feels an inexplicable pull towards this mysterious female, and a past revealing itself through clues is scattered in her path. As family secrets come to light, she unearths the ties between her mother, grandfather, the wife of the king, a fearsome warrior, and the brass head's pivotal connection to them all.
Haunting and compelling, Butterfly Fish is a richly told story of love and hope; of family secrets, power, political upheaval, loss and coming undone.
'a novel of epic proportions... I fully expect to see Butterfly Fish on many an award nomination list.' Yvvette Edwards
'A stunningly well-written book, juggling different timescales with great skill. Benin itself is vividly imagined in a historical narrative that runs in parallel with the contemporary London one. It is a wonderful novel." Simon Brett OBE
'A wonderful, richly drawn novel, cleverly juxtaposing scenes from everyday London with African folklore and mysticism.' Joanne Harris
A Book of Secrets
A Book of Secrets is the story of a woman named Susan Charlewood living in Elizabethan England. Born in what is now Ghana, Susan is enslaved by the Portuguese but later rescued by British sailors, who bring her to England. Once in England, she is raised and educated in an English Catholic household.
When Susan comes of age, the family marry her off to an older Catholic man, John Charlewood. Charlewood runs a printing press and uses it to supply the Papist nobility with illegal Catholic texts and foment rebellion amongst the Catholic underclass. When Charlewood dies, Susan takes over the business and uses her new position to find out more about her origins.
A look at racial relationships on the eve of the beginning of the transatlantic slave trade, A Book of Secrets is a revealing and compelling glimpse into a fraught time.
The Space Between Black and White
Illuminating her inner journey growing up mixed-race in Britain, Esua Jane Goldsmith's unique memoir exposes the isolation and ambiguities that often come with being 'an only'.
Raised in 1950s South London and Norfolk with a white, working-class family, Esua's education in racial politics was immediate and personal. From Britain and Scandinavia to Italy and Tanzania, she tackled inequality wherever she saw it, establishing an inspiring legacy in the Women's lib and Black Power movements. Plagued by questions of her heritage and the inability to locate all pieces of herself, she embarks on a journey to Ghana to find the father who may have the answers.
A tale of love, comradeship, and identity crises, Esua's rise to the first Black woman president of Leicester University Students' Union and Queen Mother of her village, is inspiring, honest, and full of heart.
Little Big Man
Stanley J. Browne is an actor, and he has been an actor all his life. Born to a Jamaican mother in a London suburb, he began rehearsing for the role of survivor from an early age. From birth he knew nothing but a home filled with love and the vibrancy of a Caribbean culture, but this changes when his mother is diagnosed with schizophrenia.
In this honest and gripping memoir, Stanley reflects on a childhood and adolescence torn apart by mental disorder. Because of it, he adopts the mantle of 'man of the house' as he is forced to scavenge for food and miss school, with his two sisters, to care for his baby brother. His life is further fragmented as they yo-yo in and out of the care system and Stanley must face the reality of being separated from his siblings. An intelligent and sensitive child, Stanley descends into a life of crime and drug abuse. During his time spent in various young offender's institutions and prisons he battles with addiction and slowly begins to turn his life around. Set against a backdrop of 1970s poverty, racism and hardship, Little Big Man is a powerful story of generational trauma and one man's determination to heal the wounds of the past. Most of all, it is a book about the universal desire for love, belonging and the search to find an authentic voice through the redemptive power of creativity and recovery.
A Quick Ting On: Grime
From pirate radio to Glastonbury's Pyramid Stage, journalist and rapper Franklyn Addo pens an extraordinary narrative of the history, present and future of Grime music.
The influence of Grime on contemporary British culture is difficult to understate. From fashion trends and evolving language to potent political statements, Grime is a musical juggernaut that has reverberated far throughout British society. Chronicled for the first time in powerful literary prose, Addo intelligently documents the genre's cultural explosion and investigates how it became the voice of a generation.
A phenomenal insight into the captivating and electrifying genre that has taken the British music scene by storm, A Quick Ting On: Grime is an essential and long-awaited read for Stormzy aficionados and grime newcomers alike.
The Marrow Thieves
Humanity has nearly destroyed its world through global warming, but now an even greater evil lurks. The indigenous people of North America are being hunted and harvested for their bone marrow, which carries the key to recovering something the rest of the population has lost: the ability to dream. In this dark world, Frenchie and his companions struggle to survive as they make their way up north to the old lands. For now, survival means staying hidden-but what they don't know is that one of them holds the secret to defeating the marrow thieves.
"Miigwans is a true hero; in him Dimaline creates a character of tremendous emotional depth and tenderness, connecting readers with the complexity and compassion of Indigenous people. A dystopian world that is all too real and that has much to say about our own." Kirkus Reviews
Stick To My Roots
The autobiography of Tippa Irie, Stick To My Roots tells the reggae musician's incredible story - from his trailblazing beginnings in Saxon Sound International to the Grammy Award-nominated "Hey Mama" with the Black Eyed Peas.
Titled after his 2010 hit single, the book will cover 40 years of Tippa's prestigious career: from the first sign of talent as a child in South London and family members encouraging him to enter local talent competitions, to making his first record and becoming the powerhouse and Reggae-scene legend he is now.
It's a story full of dreams, music and hope, but also the deep traumas and tribulations that Tippa experienced throughout his life.
On 24 May 1948, the Empire Windrush sailed from Kingston, Jamaica, to harbour at Tilbury Docks. It carried 1,027 passengers and some stowaways, and more than two thirds of them were West Indies nationals. On 22 June 1948 they disembarked onto the docks, Alford Dalrymple Gardner was among them. Alford's story traverses both the uplifting highs and intolerant lows that West Indian migrants of his generation encountered upon travelling to Britain to forge out a life. From joining the British military during World War II to returning to Jamaica once it was won-only to come back to the UK when the government decided it needed him again-Alford witnessed milestone events of the 20th century that shaped the country he still lives in today. In the context of a supposedly 'post-Imperial' Britain where the lives of West Indian migrants hang precariously on the whims of the Home Office, Alford's heartening testimony is a celebration of those who endured hardships so that generations to come could call this place home.
A Quick Ting On: Black British Power
From the Mangrove Nine to Notting Hill Carnival, writer and social commentator Chanté Joseph takes us through the formative, radical histories of Black British activism.
When the Windrush generation arrived in Britain, the concept of 'Black Britishness' or 'Black British Culture' did not yet exist. Fast forward to the present day, where a distinct and influential Black British identity exists.
This concise and informative book traverses the crucial topics within Black British history and culture: exploring community activism, protests, Notting Hill Carnival, the Black British Panthers, Women of the movement, the Mangrove Nine and the Black British Arts.
Celebrating and chronicling the fusion of social, political and artistic elements within Black activism in Britain, A Quick Ting On: British Black Power provides an insightful look at how the British Black Power movement first emerged and has developed since.
Winner of the 2022 OCM Bocas Prize for Fiction.
Shortlisted for the Society of Authors' McKitterick Prize 2022.
Finalist of the 2022 Firecracker Award in Fiction.
Coconut trees. Carnival. Rum and coke. To many outsiders, these and other sunny images are all they know about life in the Caribbean. However, if you want to learn how the locals truly live and experience the dark and often harrowing truths that lurk behind the idyllic imagery of Caribbean culture, then come visit the town of Pleasantview.
Come during election season, and see how one candidate sets out to slaughter endangered turtles - just for fun. Or come on the day the other candidate beats his "outside-woman," so badly she ends up losing their baby. Then come on the night of the political rally, where this grieving woman exacts a very public revenge. Stay a while, and see how this single event has a trajectory far beyond the lives of the immediate actors, with often tragic and heartbreaking consequences.
Written in a remarkable combination of Standard English and Trinidad Creole, Pleasantview showcases the entrenched political, racial, and class dichotomies of life in Trinidad: the generosity (yet cruelty) of the average Trini; the sense of optimism (and yet, despair) which permeates everyday interaction; and the musicality of Caribbean creole (kriol) expression that masks an ingrained and frequently violent patriarchy.
Merging the vibrancy and darkness of recent Caribbean writers such as Ingrid Persaud and Claire Adam with the linguistic experimentation of Marlon James's A Brief History of Seven Killings, Pleasantview is a landmark work in international fiction.
Symona's Still Single
Symona Brown is a 37-year old Jamaican British woman living in South London looking for her Mr. Right whilst her biological clock loudly ticks on. She announces to her close girlfriends after a boozy Sunday brunch, that she is ready to up her game and start actively dating, to their surprise and delight. After being consciously single for a number of years, Symona remembers what worked and what definitely did not in the dating arena. This time, she knows who she is and what she wants.
As Symona reflects through her memories from one Mr. to another, she reveals her sensual, hilarious and downright frustrating encounters. She finds herself asking, "What does it mean to be a Black woman trying to exist, date and find love?" In her pursuit of love, she learns new lessons and different answers. Will these new revelations get her what she wants?
Praise Song For The Butterflies
Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2019, a powerful, well-researched, fictional account exploring the trokosi tradition for the curious and the open-minded.
Abeo Kata lives a comfortable, happy life in West Africa as the privileged nine-year-old daughter of a government employee and stay-at-home mother. But when the Katas' idyllic lifestyle takes a turn for the worse, Abeo's father, following his mother's advice, places the girl in a religious shrine, hoping that the sacrifice of his daughter will serve as atonement for the crimes of his ancestors. Unspeakable acts befall Abeo for the fifteen years she is enslaved within the shrine. When she is finally rescued, broken and battered, she must struggle to overcome her past, endure the revelation of family secrets, and learn to trust and love again. In the tradition of Chris Cleave's Little Bee, Praise Song for the Butterflies is a contemporary story that offers an educational, eye-opening account of the practice of ritual servitude in West Africa. Spanning decades and two continents, Praise Song for the Butterflies is an unflinching tale of the devastation that children are subject to when adults are ruled by fear and someone must pay the consequences.
"Abeo is unrelenting - a fiery protagonist who sparks in every scene. Bernice L. McFadden has created yet another compelling story, this time about hope and freedom." Nicole Dennis-Benn, author of Here Comes the Sun
Creatures of Passage
Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2022.
Nephthys Kinwell is a taxi driver of sorts in Washington, DC, ferrying ill-fated passengers in a haunted car: a 1967 Plymouth Belvedere with a ghost in the trunk. Endless rides and alcohol help her manage her grief over the death of her twin brother, Osiris, who was murdered and dumped in the Anacostia River.
Unknown to Nephthys when the novel opens in 1977, her estranged great-nephew, ten-year-old Dash, is finding himself drawn to the banks of that very same river. It is there that Dash-reeling from having witnessed an act of molestation at his school, but still questioning what and who he saw-has charmed conversations with a mysterious figure he calls the "River Man," who somehow appears each time he goes there.
When Dash arrives unexpectedly at Nephthys's door one day bearing a cryptic note about his unusual conversations with the River Man, Nephthys must face both the family she abandoned and what frightens her most when she looks in the mirror.
Creatures of Passage beautifully threads together the stories of Nephthys, Dash, and others both living and dead. Morowa Yejidé's deeply captivating novel shows us an unseen Washington, D.C., filled with otherworldly landscapes, flawed super-humans, and reluctant ghosts, and brings together a community intent on saving one young boy in order to reclaim themselves.
Hunting by Stars
The thrilling follow-up to the bestselling, award-winning novel The Marrow Thieves, about a dystopian world where the Indigenous people of North America are being hunted for their bone marrow and ability to dream. Years ago, when plague and natural disasters killed millions of people, much of the world stopped dreaming. Without dreams, people are haunted, sick, mad, unable to rebuild. The government soon finds that the Indigenous people of North America have retained their dreams, an ability rumored to be housed in the very marrow of their bones. Soon, residential schools pop up and are re-opened across the landscape to bring in the dreamers and harvest their dreams.
Seventeen-year-old French lost his family to the schools and has spent the years since heading into the north with his new "found family"-a group of other dreamers, who like him, are trying to build and thrive as a community. But then French wakes up in a pitch-black room, locked in and alone for the first time in years, and he knows immediately where he is-and what it will take to get out.
Meanwhile, out in the world, his found family searches for him and dodges new dangers-school Recruiters, a blood cult, even the land itself. When their paths finally collide, French must decide how far he is willing to go-and how many loved ones is he willing to betray-in order to survive. This engrossing, action-packed, deftly-drawn novel expands on the world of Cherie Dimaline's award-winning The Marrow Thieves, and it will haunt readers long after they've turned the final page.
If I Don't Have You
A captivating, sexy romance that explores the limits of love at first sight...
Afro-Brazilian filmmaker Ren is recovering from a romantic betrayal. Kayla is a Black British artist and journalist keen to make her mark. Thrown together during a string of interviews in New York for Ren's latest film, they're struck by an irresistible attraction. The two surrender to one night of searing honesty and passion, which leaves them with more questions than answers about the future. With secrets lurking between them, letting their romance continue could upend the separate lives Ren and Kayla have so carefully built. But can they really risk losing their miraculous connection?
A young woman living in London, Ekuah loves deeply and loves hard, yet with each romantic encounter she is left feeling increasingly unmoored and adrift. She struggles in her love for Dee Emeka, a gifted musician, who is both passionate and distant in the way he loves her back. Confirming her worst fears about the unstable foundation of their relationship, he suddenly disappears from her life. Heartbroken, she is left to pick up the pieces, while searching for new validations and preoccupations from others.
But when, against a backdrop of enigmatic, poetic, nights in London, Venice, Accra and Paris, she finds an unexpected new love in the form of Jay Stanley, Ekuah re-focuses on her journey to meaningful love. She is determined to feel deeply again, but can she handle the vulnerability and forgiveness that comes with falling in love?
Are We Home Yet?
Spanning the years from 1935 to 2010, Are We Home Yet? is the moving and funny story of a girl and her mother.
As a girl, Katy accidentally discovers her mother is earning money as a sex worker at the family home, rupturing their bond. As an adult, Katy contends with grief and mental health challenges before she and her mother attempt to heal their relationship. From Canada, to Leeds and Jamaica, and exploring shame, immigration and class, the pair share their stories but struggle to understand each other's choices in a fast-changing world.
By revealing their truths, can these two strong women call a truce on their hostilities and overcome the oppressive ghosts of the past?
A reimagining of Shakespeare with a Caribbean twist!
Garrick takes Shakespeares's soliloquys and monologues and incorporates Jamaican Patois to make them relevant for a new age and audience. Inventive and engrossing, this collection is imperative and complimentary when teaching the canon.
With supreme skill and reverence, capturing shards, stillness and chaos, Fatin Abbas delivers a novel that gallops close and parallel to current events in Sudan.
A dynamic, beautifully orchestrated debut novel connecting five characters caught in the crosshairs of conflict on the Sudanese border.
A mysterious burnt corpse appears one morning in Saraaya, a remote border town between northern and southern Sudan. For five strangers on an NGO compound, the discovery foreshadows trouble to come. South Sudanese translator William connects the corpse to the sudden disappearance of cook Layla, a northern nomad with whom he's fallen in love. Meanwhile, Sudanese American filmmaker Dena struggles to connect to her unfamiliar homeland, and white midwestern aid worker Alex finds his plans thwarted by a changing climate and looming civil war. Dancing between the adults is Mustafa, a clever, endearing twelve-year-old, whose schemes to rise out of poverty set off cataclysmic events on the compound.
Amid the paradoxes of identity, art, humanitarian aid, and a territory riven by conflict, William, Layla, Dena, Alex, and Mustafa must forge bonds stronger than blood or identity. Weaving a sweeping history of the breakup of Sudan into the lives of these captivating characters, Fatin Abbas explores the porous and perilous nature of borders?whether they be national, ethnic, or religious?and the profound consequences for those who cross them. Ghost Season is a gripping, vivid debut that announces Abbas as a powerful new voice in fiction.
Locating Strongwoman is a portrait of unperformed femininity. Eschewing the stereotypical portrayal of the "Strong Woman" and the even more loaded "Strong Black Woman", these poems invite the reader to interrogate the protagonists and find in their stories a quiet strength.
"...This is a book filled with want, love and the lack thereof, with striking lines like, 'As if he wasn't a bed of nails your love/laid on' and 'The factory of my body works overtime'. It teeters between violence and the razor-blade threat thereof. Straddling the inside and outside worlds on the head of a 'bobbing sewing needle', Locating Strongwoman is visceral and raw, vulnerable and strong. It will leave you thinking and feeling long after you turn its last page".
Peter Kahn, author of Little Kings and co-editor of The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks
"Through Locating Strongwoman, Tolu Agbelusi hosts a black women's sleepover. Where we drink wine and share stories, about the many complexities of navigating our hearts, how we are our mother's daughters and how our mothers are complex women. Strongwoman... The chilling truth behind this collection is that to be woman is to be silent... or silenced. Both in form and content, Locating Strongwoman is a trace of our mothers' silences and the inevitable release of our own voices. Tolu paints in a language that is familiar and comforting. And how wonderful it is to find yourself, over and over in poetry! As the woman who cannot be pinned into a box and doesn't want to be. To be seen."
Vangile Gantsho, author of Red Cotton and Undressing in Front of the Window; co-founder of Impepho Press
Through the Leopard's Gaze
In her captivating memoir Through the Leopard's Gaze, Njambi McGrath details the harrowing circumstances of her life as a young girl in Kenya, who one fateful night was beaten to a pulp and left for dead. Thirteen-year-old Njambi, fearing her assailant would return to finish her, courageously escaped, walking through the night in the Kenyan countryside, risking wild animals, robbers and murderers, before being picked up by two shabbily dressed but safe men. She buries the memories of that fateful day and night, and years later ends up in London with a British husband and children. Then one day a simple unassuming wedding invitation arrives in her mailbox causing her to have to confront the remnants of a past she had thought was behind her.
This is a book about survival, and courage when all else fails. It's a searingly honest examination of human cruelty and strength in equal measure.
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