This month, my recommendations are a mix of new reads on my TBR and a few favourites of the past year released in paperback this month.
I Heard What You Said by Jeffrey Boakye
Structured around the numerous prejudiced statements that Black writer and teacher Boakye encountered during his time in educational institutions, I Heard What You Said is a considered and ferociously intelligent riposte to systemic racism in the UK. Thought-provoking, witty and completely unafraid to call out some of the most pressing issues of our times, he offers sharp analysis, lively patter and a clear vision for how we can dismantle racism in the classroom and do better by all our students in the future.
Praise for I Heard What You Said:
“I Heard What You Said makes a powerful case: until we have rid our educational system of its dominant whiteness (and, dare I say it, maleness) we cannot hope to give all our children (whatever their ethnicity or gender) the educational experience they need and deserve.” — Rt Hon Lady Hale
“Personal and political, profound and playful, Boakye’s sharp analysis of the classroom and the staffroom is essential reading for anyone with a stake in education. A book that should be discussed in every staffroom in the country; send a copy to the Secretary of State for Education!” — Darren Chetty, co-author of How to Disagree
I Heard What You Said will be published on 9th June 2022. It is available to pre-order on Hive and at other bookshops and retailers.
The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed
Shortlisted for both the Booker Prize and Costa Novel Award in 2021, The Fortune Men follows the story of Mahmood, a petty criminal who finds himself wrongfully charged for murder in 1950s Cardiff. Initially convinced the his innocence will be proven and justice will prevail, Mahmood’s faith dwindles as he is confronted with the prejudices that face him.
Nadifa Mohamed, author of The Orchard of Lost Souls and Black Mamba Boy, is a Somali-British novelist. She featured on Africa39’s list of the most promising writers under the age of 40 from sub-Saharan Africa in 2014. Alongside novel-writing, she writes essays, articles and poetry, and her writing features in the 2019 poetry anthology New Daughters of Africa.
Praise for The Fortune Men:
“A writer of great humanity and intelligence. Nadifa Mohamed deeply understands how lives are shaped both by the grand sweep of history and the intimate encounters of human beings.” — Kamila Shamsie, author of Home Fire
“The Fortune Men confirms Mohamed as a literary star of her generation. When Mohamed’s prose – simple and full of soul – illuminated him, Mahmood emerges as a beacon of humour, hope and endurance.” — The Observer
Dele Weds Destiny by Tomi Obaro
Zainab, Funmi and Enitan first meet at University in northern Nigeria, all learning how to become themselves. It’s an experience that binds the three very different women together. Over the course of thirty years, their lives and friendships diverge and change. But theirs is a friendship that can endure decades of distance. And in 2015, they are reunited for the first time for the wedding of Funmi’s daughter, Destiny. Here they will reflect on their pasts, the things they loved and lost – but the present brings unexpected surprises too, because their daughters, Remi and Destiny, might just be as rebellious and open-hearted as they once were.
Dele Weds Destiny is the heartfelt, vivid and sparkling debut novel by editor and writer Tomi Obaro. A story of three women, we witness the shared histories, betrayals and triumphs play out, and their unforgettable, enduring friendship.
Praise for Dele Weds Destiny:
“Obaro writes beautifully about the complicated labor of friendship and parentage. Dele Weds Destiny explores caregiving as a kind of deferment, but also as discovery, of desire, of fury, of home” — Raven Leilani, author of Luster
“A generous and patient consideration of life, and of lives… I am so thankful for the world of this book, and so excited for everyone who gets to sit in it” — Hanif Abdurraqib
Dele Weds Destiny will be published on 28th June 2022. It is available to pre-order on Hive and at other bookshops and retailers.
The Island of Forgetting by Jasmine Sealy
The Island of Forgetting is a powerful story of family and hope from debut novelist Jasmine Sealy. An unknowable legacy passes through the generations of one family living in Barbados. Each family member longs for escape, but each finds that they are trapped by a history found only in whispers and half-remembered fragments. With little control over the course of their lives, every generation contends with the same doubts about their identity and place in the world.
Jasmine Sealy is a Bajan-Canadian writer based in Vancouver. Her novel won the UBC/HarperCollins Best New Fiction Prize in 2020 and was published this spring.
Praise for The Island of Forgetting:
“The Island of Forgetting is an engrossing saga of love, family and the undying past – gorgeous at the sentence level and sweeping in both depth and scope” — Omar El Akkad, author of What Strange Paradise
“A brilliant richly absorbing tale on the repercussions of hidden familial legacies. A deeply evocative, stirring work” — Irenosen Okojie, author of Nudibranch
Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley
One of this year’s most anticipated debut novels, Leila Mottley’s Nightcrawling is a power debut novel following a seventeen-year-old girl who must navigate the adult world alone. With a dysfunctional family life, Kiara is determined to survive in a world that refuses to protect her. Then one night Kiara is picked up by two police officers, and the gruesome deal she is offered in exchange for her freedom lands her at the centre of a media storm. If she agrees to testify in a grand jury trial, she could help expose the sickening corruption of a police department. But honesty comes at a price – one that could leave her family vulnerable to their retaliation, and endanger everyone she loves.
Praise for Nightcrawling:
“Leila Mottley’s commanding debut, inspired by the life events of one woman’s struggle for body and soul against crushing exploitation, is fierce and devastating, rendered with electrifying urgency by this colossal young talent” — Ayana Mathis
“Nightcrawling is a scorching, incredibly readable book that takes seriously the task of readerly provocation on every page. Get ready. Or don’t. It doesn’t matter. Leila Mottley is here” — Kiese Laymon
Nightcrawling will be published on 7th June 2022. It is available to pre-order on Hive and at other bookshops and retailers.