ESSAYS

All I want for Christmas is the death of lazy, "diversity" language

All too often we scroll across well-meaning publishing people using POC when they mean Black, racism when they mean anti-Blackness. As the vengeful child of that late twentieth century’s identifier “political blackness” and the climate of strategic essentialism its legacy left behind, the publishing industry’s current approach to diversity is—by its very naturerooted in generality and therefore cultural ignorance.

The Story of Bernardine Evaristo's Girl, Woman, Other

After 40 years of writing, Bernardine Evaristo’s 8th novelGirl, Woman, Otherproved to be her golden ticket to renown and success. A writer’s writer has become a mainstream writer. But Evaristo’s career trajectory also evidences how white preferences still steer the publishing industry. Evaristo’s long-term publisher Hamish Hamilton admits that Girl, Woman, Other came at just “the right time”, which begs the question: the right time for who?

The publishing industry cannot continue to hide its anti-Blackness behind #BlackBestSeller

Instead of wondering when and what Colson Whitehead’s latest will be, readers should be asking how these Black-authored titles would be different if they were also Black-edited, Black-designed, and Black-publicised. Fighting publishing’s anti-Blackness is not scouring Amazon for a stray copy of bell hooks: it is demanding to know exactly how pushing Black-authored titles through a largelyif not entirely—white middle-class industry underserves its products and, ultimately, its own readers.

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Nadifa Mohamed’s The Fortune Men centres humanity in the midst of tragedy and injustice

The Fortune Men is a historical fiction set in 1950s Cardiff that explores the real and distressing story of Mahmood Mattan, the last innocent man to be hanged in Wales. A Somali seaman with a taste for gambling and petty theft, Mahmood is focused on reconnecting with his Welsh wife and being a father to their children. But after being accused of murder, Mahmood faces a legal system determined to find him guilty.

Accra Noir: Crime in a city of stories, legends, and allegories

Accra Noir, an Akashic Books anthology reissued by Cassava Republic, comprises the work of some of Ghana’s most talented writers. Edited by Nana-Ama Danquah, Accra Noir’s writers spin a complex and fantastical web of love, intrigue, drama, and crime. Much like Accra itself, these stories are not always what they seem.

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

We had the pleasure and 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.