Black British authors’ historic success is ‘horrible indictment’ of publishing industry


THE FACT that it took until 2020 for two black British women to top the UK’s bestselling book chart is a “horrible indictment” of the publishing industry, author Reni Eddo-Lodge has said.

Yesterday Eddo-Lodge and Bernardine Evaristo were revealed to have secured the number 1 slots in the non-fiction and fiction charts respectively. But for Eddo-Lodge, the historic achievement has been somewhat dampened by the fact its taken so long and that renewed interest in her book has been prompted by the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.

“Well, the numbers are in. I’m the first and only black woman to top Britain’s non-fiction book bestseller chart,” Eddo-Lodge tweeted yesterday.

“Can’t help but be dismayed by this – the tragic circumstances in which this achievement came about. The fact that it’s 2020 and I’m the first. Let’s be honest. Reader demand aside, that it took this long is a horrible indictment of the publishing industry,” she added.

Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race has shot to the top non-fiction spot as readers seek to understand conversations about racism amid the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement. The book, which rose 155 places, is also third in the overall chart.

Prior to the release of the official UK book chart figures, Eddo-Lodge had spoken about noticing a marked uptick in people recommending her book and and encouraged those interested in reading it to donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund.

“This book financially transformed my life and I really don’t like the idea of personally profiting every time a video of a black person’s death goes viral,” she wrote.

Evaristo secured the top spot in the fiction list and the number 2 place overall for her Man Booker Prize-winning Girl, Woman, Other.

Evaristo tweeted: “I’ve just heard that I am the FIRST female writer of colour to top the UK fiction paperback chart. The only other writer of colour was my fellow Bookeree @MarlonJames in 2015. Astonishing. (Writer of colour, mind, not just black.) Source: @thebookseller.”

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