“Books work better when illustrators are allowed to shape the story”: A conversation with Dapo Adeola

The winner of the 2020 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, Dapo Adeola skyrocketed to fame with his award-winning picture book series about a science-mad Black girl, Rocket, who dreams of being an astronaut. In this interview, Dapo spills on everything from his unique creative processes and how the publishing industry mistreats its illustrators, to how he pulled off publishing an 18-illustrator picture book in under a year to the deliciously daring projects he’s got in the pipeline.

“We’re not getting fresh voices, we’re getting fresh faces”: A conversation with Formy Books

A sibling of publishers like Lantana Publishing and Knights Of, Formy Books are out to increase Black representation within children’s publishing. What makes them different is that they are an independent, family-run CIC (Community Interest Company). Since launching in 2020 they have published several well-received titles, including A Grand Place and Later. In this interview, Ebony Lyon (Head of Marketing) speaks on the company’s genesis and mission and the myriad of problems that plaguing the publishing industry.

“I needed to write a book that reflected reality”: A conversation with Lọlá Ákínmádé Åkerström

Lolá Ákínmádé Åkerström's fiction debut—an award-winning Nigerian-Swedish travel photographer and writer living in Stockholm—is a striking story. A unique distillation of commercial and literary fiction that feels like a tragedy, In Every Mirror She’s Black is an unputdownable read many have called “the perfect book club book”. It is preceded by the 2018 Lowell Thomas Award winner Due North and the bestselling LAGOM: Swedish Secret of Living Well. In this interview, Ákínmádé Åkerström talks freely about how In Every Mirror She’s Black upends mainstream ideas about Nordic society, her difficult journey to publication, and writing Black women.

“This book was the way to offer a kind of solidarity”: A conversation with Emmanuel Iduma

It may seem odd, but Emmanuel Iduma does not see A Stranger’s Pose as experimental: “experimenting meant that failure was allowed…I hope [when writing a book] to do something that could be considered fitting at least and to some degree successful.” A combination of forms and styles, A Stranger's Pose is a dreamy travelogue and memoir through west and north Africa that explores the nature of estrangement, identity and grief among other things. In this interview, I speak to Emmanuel about the book's ideas and diverse influences as he prepares for next year's publication of his new work, a memoir, I Am Still With You.

Meet Mocha Girls Read: A Q&A with founder, Alysia Allen

Mocha Girls Read is a book club for Black women who love to read, want to read more and meet like-minded women. Though they are based in the Los Angeles area, they meet monthly in 13 cities across the US. In this interview, Alysia tells us more about Mocha Girls Read and shares advice for those working in book communities centered on diversity.