Our Anticipated Reads
By Georgia Wells, Anna Robinson, Charlotte Barber and Maisy Twaddle
A Visible Man by Edward Enninful
6 September, Bloomsbury Publishing
In a world saturated by white, middle-class men, Edward Enniful enters the fashion industry ready to break the mould.
As British Vogue’s first Black editor, Enniful turns heads. A Visible Man tells the story of how a Black, gay, working-class refugee came to find a home in fashion, and to change it for all those around him. He discusses how he worked to reframe the idea of beauty and how fashion should be accessible to all.
Edward Enniful fought against adversity and continuously championed for inclusivity. This memoir tells the story of how someone can be brave enough to enter a space that they have been told is not for them and to make a change anyway. Here is the story of the time that the fashion industry changed forever.
Light Skin Gone to Waste: Stories by Toni Ann Johnson
15 October, University of Georgia Press
Winner of this year’s Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, Tori Ann Johnson’s Light Skin Gone to Waste is a series of stories interconnected around a Black family living in a predominantly white neighbourhood in New York. The protagonist is family head Philip Arrington, and in 1962 he arrives in Monroe, NY as a psychologist with a doctorate. Through Philip, we meet his wife Velma, daughter Livia and unborn child Madeline. Moving to a blue-collar town, they are contrasted against many of their neighbours, they are cosmopolitan and sophisticated, but also troubled and falling apart. As we follow the linked stories through the swinging sixties and beyond, Johnson writes of mundane moments, such as buying new homes, going on holiday and opening businesses.
But Maddie, as one of the only Black children in the town, finds herself at the forefront of the racism and invisible barriers she cannot be freed from. As she learns family truths of adultery, violent mood swings and resentments, Maddie must decide who she is against. An engrossing read, this collection of interwoven stories sheds a light on the young Black people of America and the constant hurdles they face as they navigate young adulthood in the contemporary age.
Anywhere You Run by Wanda M. Morris
25 October, William Morrow Paperbacks
In the summer of 1964, three innocent men are brutally murdered for trying to help Black Mississippians secure the right to vote. In the same town Violet Richards finds herself in a horrific situation. Suffering a brutal attack, she kills the man responsible, which leaves her no choice but to flee her town of Jackson, Mississippi, as there is no way to escape Jim Crow justice. She hides out in a small rural town in Chillicothe, Georgia. However, even with the escape, danger may be closer than she thinks.
Back in Jackson, Violet’s older sister Marigold is facing problems of her own. She dreams of attending law school and has been trying to use her knowledge to further the cause of the vote. However, much like her sister, Marigold is in trouble. She’s pregnant and unmarried. After news of the murder brings the police to her, she sees no other option than to flee. But has she made a terrible choice that threatens the life of her and her unborn child?
What both sisters have failed to realise is that there is a man hot on their trail. One that has dark secrets and a disturbing motive. From the award-winning author of All Her Little Secrets, Wanda M. Morris brings another gripping novel.
The Islands by Dionne Irving
1 November, Penguin Random House
Dionne Irving explores the immigrant experience in The Islands, following the lives of Jamaican women who are either relatives of people who have immigrated, or immigrants themselves. Ranging from stories of women from the 1950s to modern day, Irving astutely examines the intricacies of immigration in her debut collection. Set across London, France, Panama, Florida and Jamaica, the difficulties of assimilation, the legacy of colonialism and sexual discrimination are studied as the women navigate their unsettled lives.
One story tells the tale of a woman and her husband who impulsively move to Florida with high hopes of living the American Dream, only to discover cracks in their relationship. Another shows a mother, who is a touring comedienne, feeling pressure to volunteer in a prep school’s International Day. In another, a travel writer connects with the mother who abandoned her.
Themes within The Islands focus on the desire for connection during the turbulence of displacement and the relationship that one forms with their own identity. Restless and uncertain, these stories follow women all striving to spread their roots where they find themselves planted.