All posts filed under: Features

17 Black Romance Novels for 2021

The interwebs tell me August was Romance Awareness Month. Although we’ve missed that delightful bus, I offer up this sparkly selection of romance novels because (1) we should celebrate romance every day (2) we’re going to need some tingly happiness to handle the annual slide from flip flops and ice cream to hot chocolate and falling leaves. Give yourself an extra challenge and try an author you haven’t read before.  

15 Black Boy Tween and Teen Novels

It’s been three years since a I wrote a blog post lamenting the paucity of books with Black lead characters for tween boys. In that post I recounted how I’d tried and failed to find five books with a Black boy protagonist that wasn’t about police brutality, drugs, gangs, social injustice or any other trauma. This summer a friend messaged me asking for book recommendations for her tween nephew so I decided to give the experiment another try. The offerings have grown slightly but it’s still an uphill struggle to find books with Black boy leads that aren’t centered on trauma. I really hope the next time I run this experiment there is more fantasy in the mix. I’m longing for Black boy heroes wielding swords, casting spells, joining secret crime fighting organisations, travelling to space, inventing gadgets and other out-of-the-box fare. I want Black writers to write their truths, to reflect the many worlds Black boys live in, to be unapologetic. But I also want escapism and magic for all children, especially Black boys. …

Review: His Only Wife By Peace Adzo Medie

A slice of life novel about a young woman living in impoverished circumstances in the Ghanaian village of Ho, who gets the opportunity to marry into a wealthy family. Afi, the protagonist, is beautiful and smart but has done poorly in her secondary school exams and can’t Ghana’s public universities. Instead she faces a life playing seamstress to the unexciting women of Ho.

Temi Oh: Space Girl

I remember the day I walked through Foyles bookshop in Tottenham Court Road and literally stopped in my tracks. I’d spotted Do You Dream of Terra Two? on a shelf in the distance and was trying to discern whether the cover truly featured a Black girl in an astronaut helmet. I ran over. No, I wasn’t hallucinating; she was really there. It sounds ridiculous, I’d read a million books set in space, but I’d never seen a Black girl on the cover of a space adventure before. I’d never seen not even close. My eyes zipped down to the author’s name. Temi Oh. My heart gave a leap of excitement. I was 98% sure the author was Nigerian. I put Google straight to work and a few weeks later I was sitting in a West London coffee shop with Temi Oh, gushing over that arresting cover.  “You don’t really get a lot of control over the cover as a writer,” she’d admitted. “I told them I definitely want a Black woman. I was really happy …

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 …