This month, we're delighted to be offering something a little different. As it's Black History Month, we're going to be sharing more than one book for this month, we're going to showcasing a fantastic book by a black author every week.
With the recent great news of Jacaranda Books' A Quick Ting On series, a groundbreaking new black British series exploring a range of topics from young authors including Tskenya Sarah-Frazer, Tobi Kyeremateng, Sophia Tassew, Chanté Joseph and Christian Adofo, created by Magdalene Abraha, a 24-year-old publisher, we're excited to show the variety and diversity of black authors that the world has to offer. From literary fiction and commercial fiction to non-fiction and children's books, we're hoping that each week, you feel inspired, intrigued and most of all, represented.
This week, we're highlighting Headline. Headline Publishing Group was founded in 1986 with a single promise at its heart: to publish the books people want to read. Sometimes, the simplest ideas are best.
Seeking some black girl magic this month? Headline publish fantastic fiction and non-fiction titles from classic award-winning authors such as Andrea Levy and Dorothy Koomson to upcoming and inspiring voices such as Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff and Grace Victory.
Here's our quick lowdown on these seven fab books:
1. Dorothy Koomson | Tell Me Your Secret
The latest book from the bestselling, award-winning Dorothy Koomson. This emotional thriller tells the story of Pieta and Jody. Ten years ago, Pieta was kidnapped by a serial killer calling himself The Blindfolder who let her go after she obeyed his command of not opening her eyes for 48 hours. Fifteen years ago, policewoman Jody made a grave error which resulted in the murderer getting away. Now, with The Blindfolder returning to hunt down his past victims, both Pieta and Jody realise they have two choices: stay quiet to protect themselves or tell all and sacrifice each other. A gripping page-turner packed with turns and twists, this is a must for thriller fans.
2. Doris Payne | Diamond Doris
Described as an "unapologetic badass" by Tessa Thompson, this is the story of Diamond Doris. For those who loved Ocean's 8, this is the book for you. For over six decades, Doris Payne was one of the world's most notorious jewel thieves. From growing up during the Depression in West Virginia and dealing with racism and prejudice at every time, Doris flipped the American Dream on its head. Starting off as a petty thief, she went on to pull off diamond robberies around the world. Her tale is one of overcoming adversity and defying the odds.
3. Andrea Levy | Small Island
Written by the late great Andrea Levy, Small Island is a classic that should be treasured for centuries to come. The winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year and the Orange Prize for Fiction, it tells the story of Hortense, a young Jamaican woman who moves to London after WW2, but finds life in London isn't what she expects it to be. A must read for all, particularly those interested in stories about the Windrush generation.
4. Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff | Mother Country
In this same vein, Mother Country tells the real stories of the Windrush generation. Written and edited by the award-winning writer, editor and columnist Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff (also Deputy Editor of gal-dem), this wonderful book features the voices of Corinne Bailey-Rae, Sharon Frazer-Carroll, Lenny Henry, Kimberley McIntosh and more, as they delve into the reality of the experiences of those of the Windrush generation, as well as the generations that came after. For fans of Black and British and Natives, this is a must-read.
5. Octavia E. Butler | Kindred
Describes as 'the marker you should judge all other time-travelling narratives by' by the Guardian, expect great things from Kindred. This groundbreaking book tells the extraordinary story of two people bound by blood, and separated by more than time. Switching between 1976 and 1815, Kindred explores the themes of historical slavery, time travel and romance with a depth and rawness that stays with you after the last page. Readers of Homegoing and Who Fears Death should try this.
6. Grace Victory | No Filter
Often the body positivity movement can be exclusive and fail to recognise the plight that women of colour, particularly black women, face not only online, but in real life. In No Filter, TV presenter, blogger and inspirational role model, Grace Victory, talks about her journey to self-love. From growing up in a troubled household to battling depression, Grace's story is one of resilience, strength and overcoming. If you're in need of a pep talk, read this book.
7. COMING SOON: Bolu Babalola | Love in Colour
If you don't know who Bolu Babalola is, you need to. The London-based writer and lover of love was shortlisted in 4th Estate's B4ME competition in 2016 for her hilarious romance, Netflix & Chill. Since then, she's written scripts for TV and film, works as a TV and Culture columnist for Dazed and now, she brings to light the wonderful history of love. From magical Nigerian folktales to the ancient stories of South Asia, Love in Colour decolonises the tropes of love and celebrates the diversity of romance and desire that we all experience.
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Writer: Mireille Harper