THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
BOOK OF THE YEAR AT THE BRITISH BOOK AWARDS
SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD
LONGLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION
'A deliciously funny, characterful, topical and thrilling novel for our times' Bernardine Evaristo, winner of the Booker Prize
'Brilliant, timely, funny, heartbreaking' Jojo Moyes
'A must-read novel about sex, selfhood, and the best friendships that get us through it all' Candace Bushnell, author of Sex and the City
Queenie is a twenty-five-year-old Black woman living in south London, straddling Jamaican and British culture whilst slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper where she's constantly forced to compare herself to her white, middle-class peers, and beg to write about Black Lives Matter. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie finds herself seeking comfort in all the wrong places.
As Queenie veers from one regrettable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be? - the questions that every woman today must face in a world that keeps trying to provide the answers for them.
A darkly comic and bitingly subversive take on life, love, race and family, Queenie will have you nodding in recognition, crying in solidarity and rooting for this unforgettable character every step of the way. A disarmingly honest, boldly political and truly inclusive tale that will speak to anyone who has gone looking for love and acceptance and found something very different in its place.
LONGLISTED FOR THE JHALAK PRIZE
SHORTLISTED FOR WATERSTONES BOOK OF THE YEAR
SHORTLISTED FOR FOYLES BOOK OF THE YEAR
SHORTLISTED FOR COMEDY WOMAN IN PRINT PRIZE 2020
BLACKWELL'S DEBUT NOVEL OF THE YEAR
NAMED ONE OF THE TIMES, GUARDIAN, SUNDAY TIMES, DAILY MAIL AND EVENING STANDARD'S BEST BOOKS OF 2019
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
From the author: “I did a writers’ retreat at [British author] Jojo Moyes’ house and wrote Queenie. The only aspirations I had for it was it being read by people who could either feel less lonely in what they were going through, which is what Queenie was going through, or people who could learn something from it. I was exploring stuff about mums, and about straddling two cultures and never feeling like you can actually properly lend yourself to either because both are asking you to be different things, both are pulling in different directions. My whole thing was like, how do I get as close to this young woman as possible, to say: ‘This is the reality of things’? It’s obviously not everyone’s reality because one Black woman is not all Black women. But it was really important to me to represent a chaotic Black woman who wasn’t together, who absolutely, definitely wasn’t strong. We start filming the TV adaption in January 2023. Queenie will always be my first baby—it just will—so making sure that it’s right has been the thing. A lot of the journey has been keeping it as true to what it should be as possible and not bending. I’m not willing to water the story down.”
Carty-Williams's smart, fearless debut follows Queenie Jenkins, a Jamaican-British woman, after her longtime white boyfriend, Tom, asks for a "break." Queenie's impulsive behavior (promiscuity; distancing herself from friends) begins to unearth memories of childhood abuse, causing her to make more bad choices in an effort to alleviate her pain. When her career as a newspaper reporter begins to suffer and she's issued her final warning before being fired, she decides to confront her demons head on. To emerge from her crisis, Queenie begins psychotherapy, much to the consternation of her grandmother, who sees Queenie's mental health issues as a weakness she need only be strong to overcome. The result is a novel that stares directly into the pitfalls of being black in white spaces and (through flashbacks with Tom) the challenges of interracial relationships. Carty-Williams doesn't shy from the messiness of sexual relationships, racial justice issues such as police brutality, or Queenie's promiscuity, and the narrative is all the more effective for its boldness. This is an essential depiction of life as a black woman in the modern world, told in a way that makes Queenie dynamic and memorable.)
Couldn’t put it down. Insightful, clever and a great read.
Couldn’t put it down!
Not a book lover but love this one
Love it, as I could identify with many things, so real