Finding Freedom in Fallibility with Raven Leilani’s Luster

A desire expressed many a time by me and other Black women is the desire to be seen and heard, to be afforded the space to stumble, learn and grow. Everyone expects us to fail, and to succeed is to be the exception. The space between renders us unremarkable. While our struggle for perfection isn’t going anywhere, Raven Leilani’s sharp and sparkling Luster presents us with a devastatingly human Black female protagonist: Edie, a twenty-three-year-old artist struggling to make ends meet. It’s in this novel that we are given the freedom to fall short of expectations, given permission to just be in our Blackness. Embrace fallibility as it gives you stories to tell, and those stories are your proof that you were here.

Friendship, Womanhood, and Identity in Nikki May’s WAHALA

Centring around the lives of three mixed-race race women—Ronke, Boo, and Simi—as they navigate their challenging 30s, Nikki May’s debut novel WAHALA considers womanhood and the mixed-race experience. In its tale of these three women, WAHALA is a riveting exploration of friendship, belonging, and identity that will have you drinking from its palm until the very last page.

5 Fun Facts with Lizzie Damilola Blackburn

A blend of Queenie and The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives with a healthy spoonful of Bridget Jones’s Diary, Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? will make you laugh as you cheer for a loveable heroine looking for love, and herself, between her two cultures. From the blog post that inspired her to Yinka’s abiding love for her local chicken shop, Lizzie Damilola Blackburn gives us five fun facts about one of the first Black British romantic comedies.

How Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi’s great Ugandan novel shows us other ways of knowing

In Kintu, an ancestral curse is responsible for the suffering that plagues a family over several centuries. It may surprise a few to know that Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi's debut, a now-established classic of African literature, was rejected by British publishers for being ‘too African’. Makumbi, and her lengthy 446-page novel which took a decade to write, eventually settled for the publishers at Kwani Trust. Where most African literature must harness Western critical acclaim before being celebrated back home, Kintu marks an important first in African literary history. But what makes Kintu truly remarkable is how openly it demands that we permanently change our definitions of reason, rationality, and knowledge.