“I needed to write a book that reflected reality”: A conversation with Lọlá Ákínmádé Åkerström

Lolá Ákínmádé Åkerström's fiction debut—an award-winning Nigerian-Swedish travel photographer and writer living in Stockholm—is a striking story. A unique distillation of commercial and literary fiction that feels like a tragedy, In Every Mirror She’s Black is an unputdownable read many have called “the perfect book club book”. It is preceded by the 2018 Lowell Thomas Award winner Due North and the bestselling LAGOM: Swedish Secret of Living Well. In this interview, Ákínmádé Åkerström talks freely about how In Every Mirror She’s Black upends mainstream ideas about Nordic society, her difficult journey to publication, and writing Black women.

To love is to see, and to be loved is to be seen: Love in Colour by Bolu Babalola

Love in Colour transports you into a better world. It makes you question your definition of love. It challenges you to be loved loudly and unashamedly. This is clearly a writer who understands romance and it is evident just how much she loves love. Bolu wants readers to know that to love is to see and to be loved is to be seen: it is the action of acceptance, the acceptance of others and the acceptance of self.

Real and riveting, In Every Mirror She’s Black is the perfect read

Imagine the thrilling pacing of gripping genre fiction, the socio-political urgency of literary fiction and the sharp clarity of non-fiction, all thrown together to tell a story that has never been told before: the story of Black women in Sweden. Across class, career, and culture, Kemi, Brittany-Rae, and Muna experience Stockholm in vastly different ways relative to their Blackness but all three are, fundamentally, devastatingly lonely. Solitude is the real story of In Every Mirror She’s Black, a unique distillation of commercial and literary fiction that ultimately hits like a tragedy.

The title of Dr. Inger Burnett-Zeigler’s Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen is a phrase that masks the internal woes of existing as a Black woman in the world

Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen reminds Black women that we are not superheroes, thus we should not treat ourselves or allow others to treat us as such. Sometimes you don’t realize that you have not been advocating for yourself until you see the proof on the page. Well, Burnett-Zeigler has written 256 pages to remind Black women to take care of ourselves. As a trauma-informed therapist, it is wonderful to see the work I do affirmed by another Black woman.