Before Starshine and Clay by Sarah Ladipo Manyika was sent to me by the wonderful people over at the publishing house, Footnote. This doesn’t bias my opinion, but I thought you should know ☺️
“Conversations with the African diaspora” is the tag line for this book, as Ladipo Manyika interviews and chats with people from across the continents. There were names here I was familiar with, such as Toni Morrison, as well as a lot of individuals I had never heard of before. But each and every person had a fantastic and gripping story to tell and I’ll now follow them eagerly in the future.
The individuals that Ladipo Manyika talks to are: Toni Morrison, Claudia Rankine, Xoliswa Sithole, Wole Soyinka, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Margaret Busby, Anna Deavere Smith, Willard Harris, Michelle Obama, Michael Hastings, Evan Mawarire, and Cory Booker.
This book touches on a lot of topics. From racism, to feminism, to colonisation, gentrification, and dictatorships. All of them talking about the individual impact, as well as the larger effect. I was absorbed in each persons story and whilst I feel like everything wrapped up well, I definitely want to do some more of my own research on each of these people and discover more of their work.
On CAWPILE I rated this: Research: 9, Authenticity: 8, Readability: 9, Personal Impact: 9, Intrigue: 9, Informativeness: 9, Enjoyment: 9, giving an average of 8.86 and a 4.5* rating.
Highlight here for content warnings: discussions of persecution, death, racism, xenophobia, confinement, colonisation, violence, genocide, war, hate crime, classism.
I loved being exposed to so many more individuals that I likely wouldn’t have heard of without this collection. I am definitely bumping this up to 5*! This is a perfect read for me in November (Non-fiction November to be specific) but I recommend it all year round!