“I am not a planner”: A conversation with Chibundu Onuzo

On a sweltering and slow Monday morning in mid-June, I had the privilege of chatting to the fresh-faced Chibundu Onuzo over Zoom a few days after the publication of her third novel, Sankofa (out last week with Virago). We talked about her relationship to writing as a profession, what it's like for a non-planner to fashion a novel out of a PhD, and how Sankofa relates to the cultural coordinates that orient it in modern-day Ghana.

A Past That Breathes: How a murder case against a Black man sparks interest in the unjust system

Breathing life into the genre, A Past That Breathes introduces crime fans to a gripping case involving accusations and a whirlwind of suspense. In the late 1990s, a young musician, Goldie is found murdered in her apartment in Los Angeles and her ex-boyfriend, Paul Jackson is arrested on suspicion of murder. Though it’s more factual than hugely suspenseful, the story is a nice starter read for new readers of legal and true crime.

Abi Daré’s debut charts a new path for Nigerian literature

Abi Daré’s was one of the many middle-class Lagosian families who hired house girls for various domestic chores, and she noticed growing up how poorly treated these girls were. The Girl with the Louding Voice gives voice to the silenced and is a timeless story about a strong girl chasing her dreams. While Abi Daré takes on a voice that is not hers, she does so in order to unveil one that has hereto been shunned in the canon of African literature.

The coming-of-age story of a Nigerian trans woman that will change you

The Death of Vivek Oji is primarily interested in all the ways that love manifests itself and how limited understandings of sexuality constrain a more expansive understanding of everything love can be. Akwaeke Emezi highlights the fallibility of social perception and the limits of what we think we know. As Sarah Neilson writes in her review for Lambda Literary, "the inheritance of reductive and harmful colonial structures of gender is a great arcing tragedy of the story."

Orange Is the New Black star Selenis Levya co-authors a memoir with her trans sister

Many know Selenis Leyva from Orange Is the New Black where she plays inmate Gloria Mendoza. Fewer know that she and her sister, Marizol, co-authored a powerful and informative memoir released a couple of weeks into the Covid-19 lockdown. As it walks us through their coming-of-age and adult lives right up to the present, this joint memoir about self-actualisation explores what is it to navigate the world as an Afro-Latinx trans woman of modest means.