There are a lot of Pride Month reading lists out there right now—and yes, you should absolutely read Giovanni's Room if you haven't already—but we wanted to go beyond the classics, and maybe find some new ones.
So we invited author Akwaeke Emezi to tell us about a few books they love that showcase voices you might not have heard before. But first, we asked them about their new book, Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir.
"It's a story of a very specific part of my life, but told through the lens of spirit—like, spirit-first. I wanted to give as much as I could in the book, and there's a lot in it," they say. "The parts about the publishing industry are things that I would teach if I taught. I don't like teaching in general, so I don't teach workshops. I don't teach craft. But with Dear Senthuran, I thought, what would I like to teach if I did teach? And it wasn't, oh, this is how you structure a story, or this is how you structure a novel. It was things like, this is how you finish a novel.
"It's not as simple as saying, 'You just force time every day and you sit down and do it.' There's a lot more that comes up emotionally and psychologically to be able to finish a book. And so I try to create a balance with that in the memoir, and show while my career looks lovely and shiny on the surface, that these were the things I was dealing with behind the scenes. These were the real costs of being visible and being shiny and being prolific. And it was brutal."
Emezi's reading recommendations begin with a coming-of-age novel about a young girl growing up in Nigeria in the 1960s, just after the country gained independence from Britain.