October 4, 2019
New series A Quick Ting On… foregrounds black British culture
by Tom Clayton
This week saw the heartening launch of a new series of nonfiction books focusing on elements of black British culture, which will publish with Jacaranda Books in October 2020. According to an article in The Bookseller on Monday, A Quick Ting On… will include entries “from music to bamboo earrings, plantain to the black British power movement, Afrobeats to black British business.”
Spearheaded by the hugely impressive Magdalene Abraha, who joined Jacaranda earlier in 2019 and was named a Bookseller Rising Star earlier in the year, the series will feature works by eight authors, all of whom are under thirty and making their publishing debuts. Names include Zainab Kwaw-Swanzy, Chanté Joseph, Tobi Kyeremateng, Rui Da Silva, Tskenya-Sarah Frazer, Franklyn Addo, Sophia Tassew and Christian Adofo.
Speaking to The Guardian last Saturday, Abraha spoke of her excitement at the launch:
“The whole point of the series is that the subjects are limitless, it can last forever … There are never going to be too many topics to cover.”
In the same Guardian article, Christian Adofo, author of A Quick Ting On Afrobeats, addresses the importance and necessity of the series:
“Growing up in the UK while having roots in Africa and the Caribbean is a nuanced and ever-shifting experience … I want readers to acknowledge the influence of the transatlantic slave trade that follows a similar route to the music. This constant feedback between Africa, the Caribbean and the west is rich, which effortlessly influences popular culture.”
The emergence of A Quick Ting On… is the latest in a series of positive developments looking to shake up the endless “diversity” conversations in publishing by, you know, actually going ahead and publishing some diverse authors. The excellent work being done by #Merky Books and Knights Of, among many others, points to a movement that foregrounds black British voices on their own terms—and as such represents some of the world’s most exciting and innovative publishing. We can’t wait to see the results.
Tom Clayton is publishing executive at Melville House UK.