top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe Publishing Post

Four Incredible BIPOC Authors to Read on International Women’s Day

By Michelle Ye, Shaniah Shields, Jia Wen Ho and Leanne Francis



International Women’s Day is a week away and, to honour this, we wanted to share some fiction and non-fiction books by fantastic BIPOC voices that we highly recommend.


Fiction


Lauren Ho


After being an amateur stand-up comedian for two years, Lauren Ho amassed a tonne of what she describes as "self-deprecating jokes" that are dying to be in a book. Born in Malaysia, Ho has lived in many different countries, such as the UK, France and Luxembourg. She is currently based in Singapore, where her day job is as a reformed legal counsel and she prefers to write for pleasure. Her first novel is filled with Singaporean and Malaysian culture. Ho wrote for her younger self because there was a lack of contemporary English fiction featuring women of her cultural and ethnic background. Last Tang Standing is her debut novel, and she has just published her second book, Lucie Yi is Not a Romantic.

Last Tang Standing is described as Crazy Rich Asians meets Bridget Jones’ Diary. It is a hilarious rom-com about Andrea, a single thirty-something businesswoman dealing with scary relatives and pressures to get hitched. When she is not busy avoiding her pushy family members, she is also a hot-shot lawyer aiming to be made a partner in her firm. Her love life becomes more complicated when she meets Suresh, who has relocated from the London office and is her main rival for the partnership, as well as Eric, a billionaire. Chaotic, fun and comedic, Last Tang Standing is a worthwhile read.


Poetry


Warsan Shire


Warsan Shire is a Somali-British writer raised in London and currently based in Los Angeles. She published her debut poetry chapbook, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth in 2011. Two years later, Shire was appointed the first Young Poet Laureate of London. It was following this early success that her poetry career gained more traction and, in 2016, her poetry was adapted for Beyoncé’s award-winning visual album Lemonade. More recently, Shire released her first full poetry collection entitled Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in her Head.


Published in 2022 by Vintage Publishing, Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head is an astonishing collection, narrating the experiences of mothers, daughters, immigrants and refugees through poetry. In an interview with Bernardine Evaristo, Evaristo describes how Warsan Shire’s work “transcends [the] perceived barriers and boundaries around women’s experiences.” Shire writes with a prayer-like tenderness, translating quiet resilience into a vivid mosaic of laughter, anger, guilt, love and hope. Bless the Daughter is an “incantatory celebration of survival,” exploring womanhood from every angle, making it the perfect read for International Women’s Day.


Non-fiction


Jung Chang


Currently based in England, Jung Chang has published multiple biographies and an autobiography. Born in Sichuan, China, Chang’s life has been punctuated by historical events. Amongst the changes of the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward, Chang moved through various political mindsets and through various social roles. Prior to writing, Chang worked as a peasant, a “barefoot” doctor, a steelworker and an electrician, all culminating in the study of English and a life on a new continent.


Chang’s most recent publication, Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister: Three Women at the Heart of Twentieth-Century China (2019), anchors its readers to the Song Sisters as it traverses China’s socio-political developments between 1866 and 2003. Song Ai-ling (Big Sister), a successful entrepreneur, Song Qing-ling (Red Sister), a national leader, and Song Mei-ling (Little Sister), an activist and diplomat, were all prominent women whose influential decisions shaped modern China. Chang’s biography highlights the power wielded by the Song Sisters and their invaluable contributions to the construction of a nation, but it is also imbued with sympathy and elevated by its attention to the unbreakable, emotional bond between sisters.


Bernardine Evaristo


Bernardine Evaristo was the joint winner of the 2019 Booker Prize for her novel Girl, Woman, Other and was the first Black woman to receive the accolade. As an Anglo-Nigerian author, Evaristo’s vibrant verse and exploration of social and political issues within her work have made her a trailblazing writer for decades. Evaristo is also a poet, dramatist, essayist and activist; campaigns for greater BIPOC representation in the UK publishing industry.

Manifesto: On Never Giving Up (2021) is a powerful and absorbing memoir and manifesto on creativity, vision and never giving up. Evaristo provides an insight into her heritage and ancestry in early chapters and her experiences with racism and sexuality, growing up in 1970s Britain as a mixed race woman. She delves into topics including theatre, culture and (of course) writing, where she imparts her wisdom onto the reader.


The reader is introduced to Evaristo’s backlist, her struggles with writing and of learning how to be unstoppable in your craft as well as in life. Evaristo ends this illuminating memoir with her manifesto for change. It is a beautifully honest and searing memoir that is uplifting, insightful and inspiring.

0 comments

Hozzászólások


bottom of page