Author: Shade Lapite

10 Questions for ‘Symona’s Still Single’ author, Lisa Bent

In September 2020 Lisa Bent released her debut novel, Symona’s Still Single, the story of a 37-year old Jamaican British woman looking for Mr. Right while trying not to panic at the loud ticking of her biological clock. Symona’s Still Single was launched by indie publisher, Jacaranda as part of their ground-breaking #Twentyin2020 initiative whereby they would publish 20 Black British authors in one year. It’s a funny, charming romance made richer with stories of female friendship. Lisa’s counselling degree and belief in the power of continuous self-reflection colour her writing and are visible in the experiences and adventures of Symona as she searches for love.  I put 10 questions to Lisa and she provided some fascinating answers. 1. How did you hit upon this idea for a book? I was a social commentator on Facebook. From politics, bus antics to social issues and dating trials and tribulations, I made my opinion known. My dating posts always created the most interest, but it wasn’t until December 2017 that I realised I was onto something.  My …

2021 Black Books

40 Black Books out in 2021

Happy New Year! To buffer ourselves against the (not inconceivable) event 2021 is not the safe harbour we’re hoping for, I suggest the following. Read through the 2021 upcoming books, highlight those you like and preorder a book for every month of the year. Every 30 days you’ll get a delivery, like a gift from the abyss, a new book to bring you light and joy regardless of how the year shapes up.   You’re welcome.  Jan A River Called Time by Courttia Newland In a parallel London where colonialism and slavery never existed, Markriss Denny becomes one of the few selected for a job and a home in the Ark. It was originally built to save many but has rapidly became a refuge for the elite. Markriss soon discovers someone else has the same ability to leave their body and travel. #Fantasy 2. Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor When Fatima finds a seed beneath her family’s shea tree, mysterious powers soon follow. She becomes Sankofa, a girl wo can kill with a look, the adopted …

Sareeta Domingo is Making Waves

On a bright April day last year, I managed to grab a quick lunch with Sareeta Domingo. She’d whittled an hour out of her fiercely busy schedule to chat with me. To be safe, we ate at the Pret a Manger off London Bridge, a short walk from the Harlequin Mills & Boon office where she works as an editor. When we spoke on that April day, Domingo was a published author with a romance novel (The Nearness of You) and an erotic novella (The Confessional Diaries of a Girl in Town) under her belt. In the months since that interview she has released Love, Secret Santa, a sweet Christmas romance for teens, cued up Love on the Main Stage – a summer romance for teens – for release this month, she has a July novel coming as part of Jacaranda’s 20 for 2020 campaign called, If I Don’t Have You, and she’s worked with a clutch of remarkable writers (including Dorothy Koomson, Daniellé Dash and Sara Jafari) on a new anthology celebrating women of …

Why Publishing Advances Matter

On June 6, 2020, Leatrice “Elle” McKinney, (aka L.L. McKinney, author of A Blade So Black) kicked off a Twitter conversation about publishing advances. Using the hashtag #PublishingPaidMe she asked white authors to share the advances they’d been paid for books so Black authors could get a sense of how their own advances compared. Very quickly a huge disparity between the size of payments became obvious.

Mansa Musa

Mansa Musa: Glitter and Gold, streaming now…

I spent my Christmas on a train travelling from Canada’s east coast to the west. When I wasn’t gazing out of the huge plate glass windows at mountains, frozen lakes and endless prairie land, I was reading Mansa Musa and the Empire of Mali by P. James Oliver. What an eye opener! Here’s your 60 second guide to the medieval ruler: Kankan Musa was the 10th Mansa of the Mali empire Mansa is a Sudanese word for ‘emperor’ His control of Africa’s salt and gold mines at a time when the commodities were hugely valuable made him the richest person in history Ruled from 1312-1337 Turned the University of Sankore in Timbuktu into a fully staffed learning institution with the largest collection of books in Africa since the Library of Alexandria (246 BC). Built the Djinguereber Mosque in Timbuktu (from pounded earth, straw and wood. It has stood for over 700 years) Undertook an incredible 4,000km pilgrimage from West Africa to Mecca and back Amazingly, while I was reading and travelling, Twitter began talking about …

20 Black Books out in 2020

It’s 2020 people! Time to get rid of all the books that have been clogging up your ‘must read’ pile and replace them with shiny new ones. Yes, that is exactly how reading should work. Here are 20 books by Black authors coming out this year. Go forth, read and spread the good news. (Click the book jackets to buy or pre-order) 1. Riot Baby – Tochi Onyebuchi Ella sees things. Things that have not happened yet. After her brother is locked up on racially motivated charges, she has to decide whether to use her special abilities knowing she could start a revolution that could burn her city down. January 21 2. Not So Pure and Simple – Lamar Giles Del joins a purity ring club to get closer to his childhood crush. He doesn’t expect to learn more about himself and have to reflect on questions about what girls want from boys and what it means to respect them. This important story of masculinity is something everyone can learn from. Jan 21 3. The …

Black Book Christmas Gifts

Black Christmas Gift List

When Christmas is so close you can smell the turkey but you still have a stack of gifts to buy, you know what makes a great present? (Brace yourself, this may come as a shock but I’m going to say it anyway). A Book! A book and some colourful socks, a book and a box of chocolates, a book and a gift card, a book and – you get the idea, right? The right book tells your loved one you care. They’ll never know that you scanned this list, bought 5 books for 5 people in 15 minutes, wrapped them all in record time – since nothing wraps easier than a book- and Tra la la! Christmas joy. It’s the gift the blesses the giver and the receiver. You’re welcome. Now go forth and share the Christmas spirit. Mystery               Fantasy                                 Romance                       …