Anticipated Reads by Black Authors
By Rebecca Weigler, Georgia Wells, Charlotte Horsfield and Steph Carroll
The Other Princess by Denny S. Bryce
3 October, HarperCollins
This stunning new historical fiction coming-of-age story follows real-life events as West African princess Sarah Forbes Bonetta navigates her new life as the Black goddaughter of Queen Victoria. Presented to the Queen as a “gift” following her rescue from enslavement, the princess of the Yoruba people becomes a part of the English court and wider Victorian society.
Bonetta not only discovers how the royalty live and how they perceive her but also how her own past has drastically changed her in ways that she cannot reverse. Having experienced traumatic events and hardships, as well as a continuous battle with racism, Bonetta struggles to find the meaning of home, to understand where she belongs in this new environment and how to navigate an unexpected maternal relationship.
This enthralling and insightful novel shares the often untold story of Sarah Forbes Bonetta and her journey through the highs and lows of royal life, with all the love and social hurdles she encounters along the way.
Family Meal by Bryan Washington
12 October, Atlantic Books
Growing up, TJ was the kid next door to Cam. When Cam found himself without a home, TJ’s parents, Mae and Jin, graciously welcomed him into their family. Their bakery served as Cam’s sanctuary, a place of safety, until he eventually left, and it ceased to be the same refuge.
Fast forward several years and Cam’s world is crumbling. The love of his life, Kai, has left, yet his lingering presence continues to haunt Cam, making it difficult for him to let go. Fighting to survive in an evolving city, Cam seizes the opportunity to return to his hometown to work in a gay bar. When he is reunited with TJ, their interactions are cautious and marked by an electric banter tainted with past betrayal – and yet they are inexplicably drawn to each other.
Family remains a cornerstone, but the TJ Cam now knows is not the same person he left behind. TJ, once the quiet, unassuming queer kid who stayed home, is unsure how to navigate Cam’s return – a Cam who appears effortlessly cool but internally is shattered and self-destructive.
As emotions and unspoken words threaten to overwhelm them, hope and support unexpectedly arise from an unlikely source. Nourishment takes on many forms: indulging in croissants, sharing meals of curry at a table, recounting shared history, confronting inner demons, tending to blooming flowers and simply showing up for each other.
This story explores how those who have known us the longest can wound us deeply but also establish the gold standard for love and, through their essential presence, create the concept of family.
Decolonising My Body by Afua Hirsch
19 October, Penguin
Afua Hirsch’s upcoming title, Decolonising My Body, documents a significant journey of re-examining the Eurocentric and patriarchal systems that have shaped understandings of the self for centuries.
Hirsch’s experience relating to a personal tattoo at age forty provides her with an opportunity to completely rethink the existing knowledge surrounding ancestry, body image and common beauty rituals, as well as the extensive use of beauty products.
Hirsch draws on global scholarship, live reports, personal anecdotes and interviews with beauty experts and practitioners to weave a thought-provoking postmodern narrative that effectively challenges historical perceptions relating to body image. The destabilisation of this history allows for a healthy re-engagement with body image by drawing the reader’s attention to how mainstream beauty standards limit our possibilities.
Everything is Not Enough by Lola Akinmade Åkerström
26 October, Apollo
Take a trip to Stockholm with Lola Akinmade Åkerström’s brand-new novel. Everything is Not Enough follows the lives of three women, Yasmiin, Kemi and Brittany-Rae, as they navigate life, love and prejudice.
After receiving news of her friend’s attempted suicide and being told that she has been listed as their next of kin, Yasmiin dives into her friend’s past, hoping to uncover the reasons for their actions. While discovering the hidden mysteries of her friend’s past, Yasmiin’s own life seems to be running off course.
Kemi is feeling unsettled despite seemingly having it all: a high-powered job, a beautiful flat and a loving boyfriend. And yet, she embarks on a destructive path, desperate for change.
Britanny-Rae has no recollection of who she was before she met her husband, Jonny. The ambition and confidence she once had has faded in his shadow. But as her husband’s disturbing secrets come to light, the only thing Brittany-Rae is focused on is keeping her daughter away from him.
As the three women’s lives begin to overlap, it becomes possible that the answer to their problems lies in each other’s hands.