Book lovers, 

Do you know that we are currently in a Literary Renaissance? Yes, we are!
This awakening has been spearheaded by BIPOC writers. Recently, we have stopped asking or telling the Literary Industry to diversify, and we have started steamrolling the gatekeepers. 

Brown Girl Book Lover has been part of the movement to push the homogeneous Literary Industry into the new dawn. Twice a month, I'll bring you interviews from diverse writers, book reviews, and I'll introduce you to diverse books that should be on your radar! 

Who Is Brown Girl Book Lover? 

  • We interview BIPOC writers about their books and promote them. 
  • We review books by BIPOC & marginalized writers. 
  • We value & celebrate the intellectual contributions of BIPOC writers. 
  • We unearth published books by BIPOC writers and give them the limelight. 

My name is Leslie Ann Murray, and I’m a fiction writer, a book lover, a Trinidadian, a New Yorker, and your tour guide to literary diversity. 

Check Out Our Upcoming Interviews!

Our Feature Writer:  Maya Shanbhag Lang

LM: One of my favorite quotes in your memoir is “we are always revising our stories — and ourselves. Our stories reveal us, and they change over time depending on what we’re willing to concede,” what current stories are you revising and retelling?

Maya: We are always in the act of trying to make sense of our lives and our past, and how this informs our present moment. It’s a little bit of a myth or an illusion that we reach a point in life where we can see the past clearly. It’s an ongoing process and the act of how we understand our parents, ourselves, and our relationships are constantly shifting narrative. 

LM: When I read your memoir I kept thinking that we are all in the middle of our stories. We have an introduction and a middle, but your stories never end. 

Maya: It’s sort of like we are in a car moving - life keeps going - and while we are going, we have the review {mirror} and we have what’s ahead of us, and we are constantly taking in both “points of view” at the same time. Often in adulthood, we reach a point where we reprocess what’s behind us, and we start thinking about our childhoods. For me, this got accelerated - jam-packed - when I started caring for my mother.

LM: In your memoir, there’s a scene that stands out to me, and keeps ringing in my ear. It’s the scene where you are at the gym, and you made the connection about the lack of athleticism in your adulthood is a direct result of the constant abuse you suffered from your dad when you were a student-athlete. Can you speak to this?

Maya: So much of what takes place in a family can be labeling and we get put into certain boxes, and we absorb {these messages} as children. My father did not want me to be creative and he didn’t like my athleticism. Anytime I made a sports team, he’d immediately drag me to the tracks or tennis courts, and he’d get competitive with me. He wanted to show me that he was better and that I was weak. I did the natural thing because I didn’t want to partake, and I absorbed the message that I’m a bookworm and not an athlete. So the moment in my 30’s when I didn’t have anyone to compete with me, it hit me that it stumped {my competitive drive} out of me. 

LM: How can writers of color use the personal essay to shift the conversation about race, immigration, identity, and the myriad of intersectionalities?

Maya: You know, I have worked in different environments, and I have to speak bluntly, publishing is the whitest industry I have ever been in. When you write your story, you have to anticipate that person working with you and for you might not get it. You might get push back from your editors and agents, but you must be ready to push back. Anticipate that, and be ready. It’s important that writers of color keep pushing for our stories to be told in ways that feel true to us. {We must continue to} write authentically and genuinely as opposed to translating for a white audience.  

LM: You have the last word!

Maya: Storytelling is not a distraction from life. Storytelling is life. It’s how we explain who we are to the world. It’s an attempt at asserting our identity, claiming ourselves, and this is central to the human experience.


What Are You Reading?

My lovely friend Zahra Marie is reading, "These Ghosts Are Family" by Jamaican-American writer, Maisy Card. When I read the novel's introduction I was like "damn, you Maisy this is beautiful." Then I sat on my beach chair and read until sunset. 

What The Reviewers Are Saying: 
"[A] rich, ambitious debut novel...Each character gives Card a fresh opportunity to play with form: Chapters shapeshift here into historical fiction, there into folklore...Card’s ghosts bracingly remind us that no family history is comprehensive, that some riddles of ancestry and heritage persist beyond this lifetime." New York Times Book Review

"Inventive and captivating. . . Card’s depiction of genealogy and historical research is spot-on…” BuzzFeed

We Want To Know What You Are Reading. Send Us A Photo Of Your Current Reads! 

Nancy Johnson's debut, The Kindest Lie is about the little lies we tell for comfort, for protection, and to make our lives pretty. 

If you are a fan of An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, then you will become a fan of The Kindest Lie.

I will be interviewing Nancy Johnson for Brown Girl Book Lover, and I will share that interview with you in February. 
Copyright © 2021 Brown Girl Book Lover, All rights reserved.

Friends, twice a month, we will bring you some good diverse literary news. You are probably receiving this email because you are following us on social media or registered to receive email newsletters with us on our website.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.