In Episode 7 of the Boundless Book Club we look at representation in fiction, and the reading lists inspired by the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and share three of our personal favourite books by writers of colour that take us on a journey from memoir to crime, to magic realism and beyond.
The problem with a 30-minute podcast is that we always end up with far more authors and books to recommend than we can mention, so while the books and authors mentioned in this episode are listed below, if you head to the Emirates Literature Foundation blog, elfdubai.org/blog, you’ll find links to the reports mentioned in the episode and a list of incredible titles by black writers that belong on everyone’s bookshelf.
Books and authors mentioned in this episode:
Becoming, by Michelle Obama
Told by her college counselor that she wasn’t ‘Princeton material’, former First Lady Michelle Obama ignored them, applied and got in anyway. Ahlam talks about the book that is on everyone’s lips, and with good reason – Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming details how she confronted racist opposition to become an inspirational political force who simultaneously manages to be relatable to women everywhere in the face of oppression and resistance.
My Sister, the Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Imagine you have a sister with a habit of killing her love interests, and you’d only just begun to step into the shoes of Korede, the protagonist of My Sister, the Serial Killer. After repeatedly helping younger, more popular sister Ayoolah clean up after several abrupt and bloody ‘break-ups’, Korede reaches breaking point when her sister takes a fancy to the only man Korede cares about. If you like crime fiction, family sagas, or just good old-fashioned page turners, Annabelle wants you to give this Lagos Noir sensation to all your friends…and yourself.
Boy, Snow, Bird, by Helen Oyeyemi
A literary novel that divides the Goodreads comments section, Helen Oyeyemi’s Boy, Snow, Bird is as incredible as it is confusing and Andrea is here to recommend it to anyone who likes Haruki Murakami, inspired storytelling, loose retellings of Snow White, and a story about three women and the different connections between them.
Ahlam Bolooki is the Festival Director for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the largest celebration of the written and spoken word in the Arab World. Ahlam finds it difficult to choose a favourite genre as it’s always changing and she’s still in the midst of discovering her literary self. She’s catching up on all the gems she missed as a child such as The Little Prince and The Giving Tree, but has also developed a new appetite for Crime Fiction so who knows what’s next?
Andrea Gissdal is the Head of Communications and Marketing for the Emirates Literature Foundation. From a voracious and indiscriminate reader as a child, to a part time bookseller as a student, as an adult she has become a literary omnivore but with a preference for fiction. She also dabbles in creative writing, and has a penchant for Scrabble.
Annabelle Corton is part of the team that puts together the programme of events for the EmiratesLitFest each year. She runs the Festival Book Club and has a background in guesting and presenting on talk radio shows about various literary topics. She likes words like ‘equinox’ and ‘vespa’, and loves a good pun. She’ll read anything in reach, but has a fondness for witty tussles of good vs. evil on page and screen, especially vampire fiction where a great deal is at stake. Get it? Stake? ….She’s not sorry.