A Quick Ting On: Young black authors talk black history, Afrobeats, plaintain and more in new series


by Mayowa Ayodele

When speaking to the Evening Standard, Candice Brathwaite commented that the country had yet to scratch the surface of black British writing talent. Given this, you’ll be pleased to know that October will see the launch of A Quick Ting On, the first ever non-fiction book series dedicated to celebrating and exploring black British culture.

The ‘first black’ of anything in 2021 is as frustrating to type as it is to read, but the series which was first announced in 2019 has been put together by Magdalene Abraha and Jacaranda Books. The young, award-winning writer called on the industry last year to provide equal and fair opportunities to black authors and offer lasting support to black voices. Abraha, who is the Editorial Manager at Jacaranda Books, has been vocal on the need to end the neglect and pigeonholing of black authors.

The power of being able to tell your story, and to decide which stories are told, is housed in this industry. But publishers have been shown to be blocking black authors, and black readers, from telling and reading. This is clearly destructive. Equal and fair opportunities must be given to black authors, they must be free to write about what they desire, regardless of whether it’s centred on race or not (publishing small amounts of works by black authors that get tokenistically pushed is not enough).

Magdalene Abraha

The series will focus on everything from the growth of Afrobeats in the African diaspora to the emergence of Grime at the turn of the century. The history of the black British power movement will be given as much billing as the sentimental value attached to plantain, hair, black fashion, theatre and entrepreneurship. In a nutshell, this is culture - in a general sense - on a level playing field, ready to be explored as desired.

It's a great premise. Focusing on the culture of African, as well as Caribbean diasporas in the UK is likely to bring special focus to topics that are ordinarily given surface level coverage. Throw in the youth driven aspect into the series and who knows, maybe there's potential for it to be expanded in the future. A look at the role religion has historically and continues to play across these various diaspora groups is another topic that could certainly be worth exploring.

Talent: the authors of the series

Several familiar names will be authors in the series, with Chanté Joseph, Tskenya-Sarah, Zainab Kwaw-Swanzy, Franklyn Addo, Tobi Kyeremateng, Rui Da Silva, Christian Adofo, and Sophia Tassew all putting pen to paper over the course of eight books. The publishing run starts in October 2021 and will run into next year.

  • A Quick Ting On: Afrobeats by Christian Adofo - 7th October 2021
  • A Quick Ting On: Plantain by Rui Da Silva - 22nd October 2021
  • A Quick Ting On: Black British Power Movement by Chanté Joseph - 28th October 2021
  • A Quick Ting On: The Black Girl Afro by Zainab Kwaw-Swanzy - 4th November 2021
  • A Quick Ting On: Black British Businesses by Tskenya-Sarah Frazer - 12th November 2021
  • A Quick Ting On: Theatre Sh*t: Reimagining Black British Theatre by Tobi Kyeremateng - 19th November 2021
  • A Quick Ting On: Grime by Franklyn Addo - release date TBA 2022
  • A Quick Ting On: Bamboo Earrings by Sophia Tassew - release date TBA 2022

Top Photograph taken by Alicia Canter/The Guardian (2019)