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Musa Okwonga and Tayo Popoola in Conversation

“Sometimes you forget you are in this migrant body, then the news reminds you.”

Musa Okwonga reads from IN THE END, IT WAS ALL ABOUT LOVE earlier this month at the shop. If you weren’t one of the lucky few that managed to score a ticket for Musa’s event with Tayo Popoola, we’ve just shared a recording of their incredible discussion to YouTube.

Watch below relive a very special conversation exploring radical vulnerability, love, race, loneliness, and family that we felt enormously fortunate to host.

Enormous thanks once again to Musa, Tayo, Rough Trade Books, and everyone that joined us on the night!

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People in Trouble by Sarah Schulman

People in Trouble by Sarah Schulman
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A witty, compelling and gritty portrait of the AIDs crisis in New York City told through the lens of a love triangle between a lesbian AIDs activist, a bisexual artist and her heterosexual male partner. Through their interactions Sarah Schulman cleverly explores the gap between the middle class art world’s liberal complacent mindset and the urgency of AIDs activism as people are literally living and dying on the streets. The inclusion of a Trump-like real estate mogul who refuses to rent out apartments to gay or black men and an intricate direct action plot is informed by Schulman’s own involvement in grassroots AIDS activism, giving this book the weight of lived experience. In a real life twist, it is not widely known that Jonathan Larson, the producer of the hit musical Rent, used the exact plot from Schulman’s novel but gave her no credit.

Published by Vintage on 17th September 2019
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Suicide Blonde by Darcey Steinke

Suicide Blonde by Darcey Steinke
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£8.99 / paperback

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A portrait of the chaotic and seamy underside of San Francisco’s Mission district in which the narrator Jesse ‘dabbles in perversity’ with frightening abandon. The writing is exquisitely real, exhilarating while the book explores themes of self-annihilation, sex as a substitute for love, violence and power and how the main character, drawn to people who screw her over, finds self sabotage a transgressive act. Not for the faint-hearted.

Published by Canongate on 17th January 2019
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Evening Primrose by Kopano Matlwa

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£8.99 / paperback

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Now in paperback!

A slim but extraordinarily powerful exploration of race, gender, faith, and medicine in post-apartheid South Africa, the pages of Matlwa’s third novel are alive with a rare sort of intimacy. By turns gut-wrenchingly raw and politically nuanced, this one caught me completely off-guard and I’m now very eager to catch up with her earlier work.

Published by Sceptre on 18th April 2018
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The Idiot by Elif Batuman

The Idiot by Elif Batuman
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£16.99 / hardcover

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Set in the nineties, just at the dawn of email, this is a soulful and funny semi-autobiographical story of Selin, a Turkish American linguistics and literature student in her first year at university, navigating the perplexities of adulthood through language and its pitfalls to connection. As Selin befriends Svetlana, a and obsesses over Ivan, an older Hungarian student in her Russian class, they exchange emails and the gap between an email relationship and a real-life relationship is brilliantly described, as is the baffling gap between reality and expectation as a person forges their selfhood.

Published by Jonathan Cape on June 1st 2017
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The Answers by Catherine Lacey

The Answers by Catherine Lacey
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£12.99 / paperback

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A dark, funny and clever novel about being a woman in contemporary society. Mary is estranged from her parents, broke and suffering from chronic pain. She signs up for a well-paid job of being the ’emotional girlfriend’ to a famous actor alongside a cast of other girlfriends to suit his different needs and a team of researchers behind the scenes who feed her lines. As Mary and the other girls play out their roles, the experiment begins to unravel as connections form and all is not what it seems. An exploration of intimacy, the concept of emotional labour and the many ways in which women can subtly be subjugated.

Published by Granta on June 8th 2017
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Women in Translation Month 2017

Throughout August we’ll once again be highlighting translated fiction by women as part of #WITmonth. Having maintained a permanent Women in Translation shelf since last August, we’ll be featuring a revolving selection of great titles over the next few weeks, so check back frequently!

From Women in Translation

Only a tiny fraction of fiction published in English is translated, and only about a quarter of that translated fiction was originally written by women. For some reason, fiction in translation by women remains as rare as black diamonds. And yet there are so many amazing women-authored books out there in the world – books we’re missing out on.

Women in Translation or WiT, is a global collaborative project to help remedy the discrepancy between the amount of works by women published in English translation, and how they are critically received. We think the publishing and reading community would benefit from translating more women. Remember what sparked the current boom in translated fiction? It was crime writing. Scandinavian detective stories made many readers overcome their reluctance to reach for anything genuinely foreign. Scandicrime broadened the audience for translated fiction. And now translated fiction written by women is poised to do the same. And not just Elena Ferrante – who has gathered a fan base of readers addicted to her stories of female friendship, as translated by Ann Goldstein. But also translated genre fiction of all kinds. Last February, the number 1 on Amazon’s US list of bestselling historical romance books was German novelist Corina Bomann’s The Moonlit Garden (trans. Alison Layland). That certainly suggests a lot of potential readers for translated fiction.

From literary fiction like Japanese-German Yoko Tawada’s new novel Memoirs of a Polar Bear (trans. Susan Bernofsky) to non-fiction like Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich’s Second-hand Time (trans. Bela Sheyavich) or graphic novels like Marjane Satrapi’s best-selling Persepolis (trans. Blake Ferris and Mattias Ripa), or genre writing like that of Argentinian writer Angélica Gorodischer (trans. Ursula K. LeGuin, Amalia Gladhart and Sue Burke), women writers in translation are primed to impress and enthrall readers of all kinds of books… WiT is all about making them more visible, and more plentiful in turn…

AUGUST IS WOMEN IN TRANSLATION MONTH!

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The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter
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£12.99  / hardcover

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We love this sparsely elegant, intimate poem-like novel about new motherhood in an imagined dystopian future where London is submerged by flood waters and we are all refugees. Quiet yet powerful. (also with stunning cover design!)

Published by Picador on 18th May 2017
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Harmless Like You by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

Harmless Like You by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

This beautifully written and subtly poetic novel spans 1960s New York and present day Berlin. Buchanan writes about the outsider experience, the meaning of family and the inheritance of pain. Treading the fine line between attachment and abandonment, the main character Yuki grapples with the notion of home and the impossibility of belonging as she makes a life for herself with not much tethering her to anywhere.

£14.99
ISBN: 9781408871744
Published by Hodder & Stoughton on August 11th, 2016