Women’s Writes was touched and over the moon when Dialogue Press reached out to send us some books. If you don’t know Dialogue, they are an imprintas of Little, Brown and spearheaded by Sharmaine Lovegrove. Their mission is very much aligned with ours here at Women’s Writes.
“Dialogue Books has built its foundations upon the idea that through storytelling a dialogue is created to engender a more inclusive, nuanced conversation about experiences in our world that come before, after and next… Dialogue Books shines a spotlight on stories for, about and by readers from the LGBTQI+, disability, working class and BAME communities. The imprint has a clear focus of distinctive, cross-genre titles that spark a conversation across fiction, non-fiction, commercial and literary publishing.”
The books they sent me all sound incredible, and I have already (in less than a day!) finished Permission and cannot wait to start the next. So here is a little round up of each one.
Permission by Saskia Vogel
A raw, fresh, haunting, emotionally and sexually honest literary debut.
When Echo’s father gets swept away by a freak current off the Los Angeles coast, she finds herself sinking into a complete state of paralysis. With no true friends and a troubled relationship with her mother, the failed young actress attempts to seek solace in the best way she knows: by losing herself in the lives of strangers. When, by chance, Echo meets a dominatrix called Orly, it finally feels like she might have found someone who will be nurturing and treasure her for who she is. But Orly’s fifty-something houseboy, Piggy, isn’t quite ready to let someone else share the intimate relationship he’s worked so hard to form with his mistress.
Permission is a love story about people who are sick with dreams and expectations and turn to the erotic for comfort and cure. As they stumble through the landscape of desire, they are in a desperate search for the answer to that sacred question: how do I want to be loved?
‘Beautifully written, mysterious and compelling’ Janet Fitch, bestselling author of White Oleander
‘An addictive read you’ll finish within hours’ Stylist
‘Dreamy’ Oprah Magazine
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ story lines intersect?
Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.
‘The Vanishing Half is an utterly mesmerising novel. It seduces with its literary flair, surprises with its breath-taking plot twists, delights with its psychological insights, and challenges us to consider the corrupting consequences of racism on different communities and individual lives. I absolutely loved this book’ Bernardine Evaristo, winner of the Booker Prize 2019.
Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid-Benta
View this post on Instagram
🇯🇲🇯🇲🇯🇲 We love seeing our distinctive @dialoguebooks proofs out in the wild! Here’s upcoming debut Frying Plantain by @zalikarb out in Brixton (pre-lockdown), toning splendidly with her surroundings ☀️ This rich, unforgettable portrait of growing up between worlds is out in the UK on 13th August 2020 🗓 📸: @aimeefelone 📖: @zalikarb #dialoguebooks #discoverdialogue #inclusivebooks #inclusivereads #community #bookcommunity #newvoices #igreads #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #books #amreading #fryingplantain #plantain #jamaica #zalikareidbenta #proof #advancedproof #publishing #debutnovel #comingsoon
Kara Davis is a girl caught in the middle – of her Canadian nationality and her desire to be a ‘true’ Jamaican, of her mother and grandmother’s rages and life lessons, of having to avoid being thought of as too ‘faas’ or too ‘quiet’ or too ‘bold’ or too ‘soft’.
Set in Little Jamaica, Toronto’s Eglinton West neighbourhood, Kara moves from girlhood to the threshold of adulthood, from elementary school to high school graduation, in these twelve interconnected stories. We see her on a visit to Jamaica, startled by the sight of a severed pig’s head in her great aunt’s freezer; in junior high, the victim of a devastating prank by her closest friends; and as a teenager in and out of her grandmother’s house, trying to cope with the ongoing battles between her unyielding grandparents.
A rich and unforgettable portrait of growing up between worlds, Frying Plantain shows how, in one charged moment, friendship and love can turn to enmity and hate, well-meaning protection can become control, and teasing play can turn to something much darker. In her brilliantly incisive debut, Zalika Reid-Benta artfully depicts the tensions between mothers and daughters, second-generation Canadians and first-generation cultural expectations, and Black identity and predominately white society.
‘Zalika Reid-Benta announces herself as an enormous voice for the coming decade (and one that is desperately needed)’ Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story
You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat
A novel of self-discovery following a Palestinian-American girl as she navigates queerness, love addiction and a series of tumultuous relationships’ The Millions, One of the Most Anticipated Books of the Year
Told in vignettes that flash between the US and the Middle East, Zaina Arafat’s powerful debut novel traces her protagonist’s progress from blushing teen to creative and confused adulthood.
In Brooklyn, she moves into an apartment with her first serious girlfriend and tries to content herself with their comfortable relationship. Soon, her longings, so closely hidden during her teenage years, explode out into reckless romantic encounters and obsessions with other people which results in her seeking unconventional help to face her past traumas and current demons.
Opening up the fantasies and desires of one young woman caught between cultural, religious and sexual identities, You Exist Too Much is a captivating story charting two of our most intense longings – for love, and a place to call home.
As I said, I really am so excited to read these books. I have no doubt that they are all fantastic and tackle some really important issues fo identity, race, sex and more.