A beautiful poetry collection, a fantasy sequel, and a new non-fiction series – this month’s reading celebrates Black British life.

Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head by Warsan Shire

A new poetry collection by Warsan Shire, Bless the Daughter follows a girl stumbling towards womanhood without anyone to guide her. Shire draws on her own life and the lives of loved ones – Black women and girls, refugees, and immigrants – and weaves these testimonies with current affairs and pop culture. 

In 2013, Shire was awarded the inaugural Brunel University African Poetry Prize, and she was also selected as London’s first Young Poet Laureate. Shire’s poetry was featured in Beyoncé’s Lemonade in 2016, and she once again collaborated with Beyoncé on Black Is King.

Praise for Bless The Daughter:

Her exquisite, memorable and finely-tuned poems articulate a depth of experience that never fails to surprise and profoundly move me, as she so powerfully gives voice to the unspoken.’ — Bernardine Evaristo

It is absolutely astonishing how much emotion, intelligence, imagination, and truth Warsan Shire can get into one collection. She is a poet of the highest order, with a compassionate heart, and a limitless mind.’ — Benjamin Zephaniah

This collection will be published on 10th March 2022. It is available for pre-order on Hive and other online retailers and bookshops.

Here Again Now by Okechukwu Nzelu

The novel follows Achike Okoro, an actor who is just about to get his break. He invites his father to move in with him in Peckham, and everything seems to be falling into place. He meets with his best friend of twenty years, Ekene, and they spend an evening together in which are so close to admitting their feelings for one another. However, after a devastating event, Achike’s father and Ekene must rebuild and search for peace whilst grieving. 

Here Again Now is a heartbreaking and uplifting novel about lovers, fathers, and sons. 

Nzelu is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Lancaster University. His debut novel The Private Joys on Nnenna Maloney was shortlisted for multiple literary awards. 

Praise for Here Again Now:

A beautiful exploration of grief and family, written in exquisite prose and told with compassion and tenderness.’ — Brit Bennett

Tender and honest, pulsing with love. Nzelu is the future of Black British writing.‘ — Derek Owusu

This novel will be published on 10th March 2022. It is available for pre-order on Hive and other online retailers and bookshops.

Moon Witch, Spider King by Marlon James

This novel is the sequel to the New York Times Bestseller Black Leopard, Red Wolf of the Dark Star Trilogy. Moon Witch, Spider King is packed with African folklore and history, revolving around the witch Sogolon and the riddle of a lost child. It is a novel that explores power, personality, and the places where they overlap.

Marlon James is a Jamaican novelist living in the U.S.A. He won the 2015 Man Booker Prize for his novel A Brief History of Seven Killings, exploring the attempted assassination attempt on Bob Marley in the 1970s. Black Leopard, Red Wolf was also a finalist for the National Book Award for fiction in 2019. This hotly-anticipated sequel is not to be missed!

Praise for Moon Witch, Spider King:

Masterfully flips the first installment on its head… James makes the mythic tantalizingly real.’ — Esquire
Even more brilliant than the first.’ — Buzzfeed

The Problem with My Normal Penis: Myths of Race, Sex and Masculinity by Obioma Ugoala

Ugoala is an actor and activist of mixed Nigerian and Irish heritage. He played George Washington in Hamilton on the West End, and he has various stage and screen credits. The Problem with My Normal Penis confronts prejudices and assumptions, which both draw on Ugoala’s experiences and looks wider to public discourses around Black men, their sexuality, and masculinity. 

Ugoala draws our attention to how harmful narratives are perpetuated and permeate into the mainstream. The book challenges notions that have been embedded into British society and offers a vision of a more positive future if we dare to do better.

Praise for The Problem with My Normal Penis:

Whipsmart and refreshingly vulnerable. In this book, Obioma Ugoala brilliantly exposes the systems and the individuals that have long perpetuated dangerous and irresponsible ideals around Blackness and masculinity.‘ — Candice Carty-Williams

A valiant venture of a book that is somehow both tender memoir and unflinching excavation of the sociological blights that affect both self and society… it is a book this country needs.‘ — Bolu Babalola

This book will be published on 31st March 2022. It is available for pre-order on Hive and other online retailers and bookshops.

The following books are the first three releases of the non-fiction series, A Quick Ting On, exploring the history and evolution of Black British culture. 

A Quick Ting on Afrobeats by Christian Adofo

A Quick Ting on Afrobeats is the first book written on modern Afrobeats, and the first release of the A Quick Ting On series, which explores Black British cultural histories. The book explores the social and cultural development of the genre, from the African continent to the Western world. 

Christian Adofo is a writer, journalist, and curator, with a passion for writing about the intersection of heritage and identity in music and culture. He was interviewed for TBB last week on his writing and his love for the genre.

A Quick Ting on the Black Girl Afro by Zainab Kwaw-Swanzy

The second release in the AQTO series, The Black Girl Afro explores the rich cultural history of the Afro hairstyle and the ways in which it is often politicised. The book celebrates Afro hair, weaving anecdotal tales with popular culture and history. 

Kwaw-Swanzy is an award-winning Senior Digital Product Manager (Vice President) at Barclays, as well as Co-Chair of the Barclays Black Professionals Forum (BPF), championing diversity, inclusion, and equality in the workplace. She is a part of the founding team of gal-dem magazine, and she also works as a model. 

This book will be published on 10th March 2022. It is available for pre-order on Hive and other online retailers and bookshops.

A Quick Ting on Plantain by Rui Da Silva

Plantain holds sentimental value for many people across the Black diaspora, and this book explores the international history of the fruit and some of the contemporary issues surrounding it—inflation and gentrification. 

Rui Da Silva, or Rei Sky, is a creative practitioner working across music writing, performance, production, and illustration. He is influenced by Black diasporic and continental subcultures. 

Make sure to keep an eye out for the rest of the books in the AQTO series in the coming months. 

This book will be published on 31st March 2022. It is available for pre-order on Hive and other online retailers and bookshops.

All the books mentioned are available from Hive and other online retailers and bookshops.


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