Reni Eddo-Lodge has made history this week, becoming the first ever black British author to top the paperback non-fiction chart, while Bernadine Evaristo is the first woman of colour to top the paperback fiction chart with her novel 'Girl, Woman, Other'.
Eddo-Lodge, the author of the 2017 book 'Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race' expressed her dismay that the achievement had only come about as a result of such "tragic circumstances", referring to the killing of George Floyd.
"Can't help but be dismayed by this, the tragic circumstances in which this achievement came about," Eddo-Lodge said on Twitter. "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."
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.— Reni Eddo-Lodge (@renireni) June 10, 2020
Eddo-Lodge's book explores Britain's relationship with race and looks at the links between gender, class and race in the country. While her book was a huge success when it was published three years ago, there has been renewed interest in the title over the past few weeks following the killing of Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests that have spread across the world.
When sales of her book started to increase, Eddo-Lodge reached out on Twitter to ask followers to make a donation instead.
"Because of the past week's horrible and tragic events, I've noticed a marked uptick in people recommending my book. I'm asking everyone who buys a copy to please match however much you bought it with a donation to the Minnesota Freedom Fund. Better yet, borrow a copy from a friend/your local library and donate what you would have spent. 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."
"If you're going to buy a copy, please order from your local independent bookshop (let's keep them going during this pandemic) and also donate to your local and national racial justice organisations, if you can spare the funds. Thanks everyone."
Hello all. Monday is the third anniversary of the publication of WHY I'M NO LONGER TALKING TO WHITE PEOPLE ABOUT RACE. I was going to save saying some thing until then, as I'm on a social media hiatus, but urgent circumstances have drawn me back.— Reni Eddo-Lodge (@renireni) May 30, 2020
Evaristo's novel 'Girl, Woman, Other' – which explores the lives of 12 different characters, mostly black British women over a number of decades – was released last year and went on to jointly win the 2019 Booker Prize. Sales this week make the author the first woman of colour to top the paperback fiction chart, something which she described as "astonishing" on Twitter.
"The only other writer of colour was my fellow Bookeree Marlon James in 2015. Astonishing. (Writer of colour, mind, not just black.)"
...following on, 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 pic.twitter.com/MeoZlBeIQx— Bernardine Evaristo (@BernardineEvari) June 10, 2020
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