The founders of Black Girl’s Book Club, the hugely popular platform for Black women to get together to discuss literature and issues that affect them, have harnessed their particular brand of magic and sprinkled it into their debut book aimed at teenage girls called Grown: The Black Girls’ Guide to Growing Up.
Natalie A. Carter and Melissa Cummings-Quarry launched Black Girl’s Book Club in 2016 and since then have held numerous events, attracting some seriously impressive Black women authors including Gabourey Sidibe, Afua Hirsch and June Sarpong to name a few.
Describing the impact that the Black Girl’s Book Club has had in a recent interview with Metro, Natalie and Melissa, said: “Black Girl’s Book Club is designed to be a space that does cater to us – specifically the needs of black women. It’s a space where we don’t have to put our heads down and get on with it, it’s a place where we can actively thrive.”
Melissa (a civil servant) and Natalie (a lawyer) both lead successful busy lives and are grateful for the friendship that they share and recognised that having a safe space to be true to oneself while discussing issues that affect them was a key factor in setting up Black Girl’s Book Club. Now, they are turning their sights on the next generation with the announcement of their debut book for teenage girls.
Their debut book, titled Grown: The Black Girls’ Guide to Growing Up has been acquired by Bloomsbury Children’s Books and is scheduled to publish in 2021. Testament to the popularity of the Black Girl’s Book Club brand, the book was acquired in a hotly contested auction with six different publishers vying for the book. A recent tweet from @bg_book club said: “Two Black girls securing a book deal after a 6 way auction? Mad ting. None of this could have been possible without women. Specifically, Black women. Y’all have supported us from that very first tweet.”
Two Black girls securing a book deal after a 6 way auction? Mad ting.
None of this could have been possible without women. Specifically Black women. Y’all have supported us from that very first tweet.
I’m not waiting until the book acknowledgements to say thank you:
— Black Girls Book Club (@bg_bookclub) January 30, 2020
Grown will be the essential life skills book for Black teenage girls. It will cover everything from how to care for your natural hair to navigating micro-aggressions in school and managing your own money. Written with sensitivity and humour, Grown is a celebration of Black British girlhood that will empower a generation.
“Black Girls’ Book Club was founded with one mission in mind – to create a space for Black women and girls to be themselves, unapologetically, and of course to live their best lives.”
On the acquisition, Isobel Doster, Senior Editor for Children’s Non-fiction at Bloomsbury, said: “Receiving Natalie and Melissa’s unique, honest and motivating proposal inspired us to raise our game – we’re so excited to partner with them to change the story in non-fiction for young adults, with books by inspirational Black women for young Black women. Natalie and Melissa’s fearless ambition is utterly infectious – we can’t wait to amplify their voices, so that young Black girls across the country feel safe, supported and galvanised to chase their own dreams.”
Commenting on their spectacular news, the authors, Carter and Cummings-Quarry, said: “We are so incredibly pleased to be in a position to accept this offer for Grown…”
“Black Girls’ Book Club was founded with one mission in mind – to create a space for Black women and girls to be themselves, unapologetically, and of course to live their best lives. With Bloomsbury we have found a creative home to bring this vision together.”
“We want Grown to be a real game changer and to not only disrupt the publishing industry, but to lead innovative change that ensures that young Black girls and women like us feel catered to and seen.”