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How Can Black Authors Define Themselves In An Overwhelming White Publishing Industry?

My background doesn’t define me. I have spent most of my life trying to prove this theory; trying to forge a path to ‘individuality’ that didn’t involve my Ghanaian heritage, my London upbringing by way of Essex, my psychology and psychotherapy degrees, my lack of a creative writing qualification, or even my work in the public sector. 

Perhaps it was the sociopolitics of dating as a black woman in London and abroad that convinced me that all these things mattered to who I was and who I presented to the world, whether I wanted them to or not. In fact, it was my exploration of early romantic relationships that led me to write my debut novel, Bad Love – a coming of age story about the early years of adulthood, told via three romantic relationships from one young woman’s perspective.

Recent events have led me to question my motives for wanting to redefine myself on my own terms, to establish who I am as a writer – as a black woman, and as a British one at that – when I’m allowed to. Plus, the question of definition is important, especially right now when the publishing industry and others like it across the country are being forced to interrogate their role in the systemic racial inequalities that black people have faced for hundreds of years in the UK.