“I want the book to create space, especially psychic space in our imaginations”: A conversation with Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah

Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah cares about African women, sex, and sexuality. In 2009, she co-founded the award-winning blog, Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women, with her best friend Makala Grant after an inspiring girls holiday in Ghana. Last summer, she published The Sex Lives of African Women. In this interview, Nana gives us her perspective on the book’s genesis, ethos, and her best book recommendations.

How Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah’s The Sex Lives of African Women will set you free

I started this brilliant book voraciously, stealing a few pages while waiting on the bus and a couple more when in line at the grocery store. I finished it hesitantly, unwilling to let go of the dear companionship it provided for a few days and return to solo living. The Sex Lives of African Women is a safe space: it is pure, unadulterated freedom, somehow magically distilled and transformed into a 304-page book.

A student’s published diary, #BlackInSchool moves the conversation about anti-Blackness in the education system forward

#BlackInSchool is a loud and fiercely vital document that moves forward the conversation about anti-Blackness in the educational system. Written by Habiba Cooper Diallo during her final two years of high school in Halifax and published by the University of Regina Press, this is a makeshift diary drawn from a wealth of personal journal entries documenting the experience of being Black in a Canadian school.

“I learned to read between the lines”: A conversation with Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa

We had the privilege of speaking to a veteran of historical fiction, Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa, whose pioneering novels have put Afro-Latinx history on the literary map. The 2009 hardcover edition of Daughters of the Stone was listed as a 2010 Finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. In this interview, she tells us more about her inspirations, the power of historical fiction, its demands on the writing process, and her forthcoming novel.

Daughters of the Stone is a pioneering debut in Afro-Puerto Rican historical fiction

Published in 2009, Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa’s Daughters of the Stone is finalist for the PEN/Robert Bingham fellowship and a pioneering example of recent trends in Black historical fiction. Divided into five sections each named after a new focaliser, this multigenerational tome begins the moment Fela arrives at a Puerto Rican sugar plantation. All these stories culminate in that of Carisa, a disillusioned writer who voyages back to West Africa in order to learn the truth about her people.