Well-Read Black Girl to Help Launch New Literary Series

The world of Well-Read Black Girl, and founder Glory Edim, continues to grow.

What started in 2015 as an Instagram book club and a phrase on a T-shirt given to Edim by her boyfriend is now a newsletter, a literary festival, a podcast and the basis for two published anthologies. On Thursday, Liveright Publishing Corporation and Well-Read Black Girl announced a partnership for a literary series focusing on early fiction by female and non-binary authors, “with a focus on people of color and traditionally underrepresented voices.”

The series is called “WRBG x Liveright” and announces that in 2023 it will publish two books per year. She continues a wave of recent prints focused on diversifying the literary market, from Tiny Reparations at Penguin Random House to Black Privilege Publishing at Simon & Schuster. It also comes at a time when a wave of new laws and other actions have led to the removal of books from schools and libraries nationwide.

“I founded Well-Read Black Girl in 2015 to serve as a one-of-a-kind space for affirmation for black women to encounter literature and engage in critical discourse with each other,” said Edim in a statement.

“We began with a devotion to black voices, but now aware of the profound structural changes taking place in the publishing industry and public education – and the growing wave of dissent that threatens to silence authors of color and queer, non-binary, trans and writers with disabilities – it’s time to expand our work.

In a phone interview with The Associated Press, Edim said the idea for the series was born out of conversations with Liveright editor Gina Iaquinta, whose writers include Nicole Dennis-Benn, Rion Amilcar-Scott and Amber Sparks. Edim said that initially she and Iaquinta will only review author submissions with agents, but she is open to changing the requirements in the future and perhaps creating a literary award or of a scholarship.

Last fall, Liveright published “On Girlhood: 15 Stories from the Well-Read Black Girl Library,” for which Edim chose stories by Toni Morrison, Edwidge Danticat and Zora Neale Hurston, among others. Edim’s affinity for Liveright’s parent company, WW Norton & Company, dates back to her days as a student at Howard University, when assignments were often drawn from Norton’s widely used anthologies.

“You would have a collection of poetry with Rita Dove and Audre Lorde, or African American literature edited by Henry Louis Gates,” she said. “I was so impressed that so many of the books I read came from this powerful group. I wish some of the books I work on would end up in the hands of students, young people who read and learn.

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