Written by Christobel Hastings
Christobel Hastings is Stylist’s Entertainment Editor whose specialist interests include pop culture, LGBTQ+ identity and lore.
Candice Carty-Williams blazed a trail with her bestselling debut novel Queenie. Now, the award-winning author is back with her highly anticipated follow-up – and Stylist can exclusively reveal all the details, including a first look at the cover.
In 2019, a book with a hot pink cover depicting a woman with a braided crown electrified the literary world. During the summer, copies popped up everywhere: on the Tube, in bookshop windows, and on every other millennial woman’s Instagram grid. This wasn’t just a book, but a moment; and at the heart of it all was a truly one-of-a-kind protagonist who could elicit tears of mirth and sadness all at the same time. A character who would come to be known, in the words of her creator, as a “problematic fave”: Queenie.
If you’ve a well-thumbed copy of Candice Carty-Williams’ critically acclaimed debut novel Queenie on your bookshelf, then you’ll no doubt be familiar with the story of budding Jamaican British journalist Queenie Jenkins, who is struggling under the weight of a miscarriage, everyday racism and a painful a break from her long-term boyfriend. Heralded for its portrait of Black British womanhood and universally relatable themes, the novel stormed bestseller lists and won Book of the Year at the 2020 British Book Awards, making Carty-Williams the first Black author to win the accolade since the prize’s inception in 1994. To date, Queenie has now sold over 330,000 copies in the UK alone.
Since then, the bestselling author has been hard at work, releasing her first foray into young adult fiction, Empress & Aniya, which follows two teenage girls who accidentally switch bodies on their 16th birthday. There are two TV series in the pipeline, too, including a Channel 4 adaptation of Queenie slated for broadcast in 2023, and an original BBC drama series, Champion, described as “a love letter to Black British music set in south London”.
But for readers who fell in love with Carty-Williams’ smart, funny prose and thoughtful meditations on everything from love and work, to identity and friendship (see Queenie and her WhatsApp group of “Corgis” for more details), we’re delighted to today announce the upcoming publication of Carty-Williams’ next highly anticipated novel, People Person.
Published in hardback, e-book and audio on 28 April 2022, People Person is a propulsive story of heart, humour, homecoming, and the truest meaning of family you can get when your dad loves his jeep more than his children. Dimple Pennington doesn’t have much in common with her half siblings – except for faint childhood memories of being driven through Brixton and some pretty complex abandonment issues. But when a dramatic event brings Nikisha, Danny, Lizzie and Prynce crashing back into her life (not to mention Cyril, the absent father they never really knew), things get even more complicated.
Excitingly, we can also give you your first look at the beautiful cover of People Person. Take a look:
Designed by illustrator Hadil Mohamed with creative direction from Mylène Mozas, the cover depicts protagonist Dimple surrounded by her siblings Nikisha, Danny, Lizzie and Prynce.
“The phenomenal reaction to Queenie reminded me why I work in publishing,” said Katie Espiner, managing director at Orion. “Candice has blazed such a trail through the industry already – she is a fierce talent and one of the best people I know. Working with Candice is just a joy – a huge privilege and an honour, and I couldn’t be happier that we have so much forward publishing planned together.”
Given Carty-Williams’ ability to capture our imagination with her heart-stirring stories, something tells us that her follow-up will be just as unputdownable as Queenie. For now, prepare to make space on your reading list, and preorder People Person here.
Images: Lily Richards; Orion
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