Ariana Brown wrote in her poem “Supremacy,” “in what version of the story do black women win?” I know from my time working on this book and other writings in my life that black women win when we write our own narratives. We win when we pry open the chains of the world and live for ourselves and each other. We win when we love ourselves.
Dreaming up A FLY Girls’ Guide to University was a love song to myself, black women, and other women of colour invested in breaking silences to push back against oppressive systems. I knew that I had spent too much time behind ivory towers to only hear the same story told inside and beyond them. Our stories are not here for diversity campaigns and our photos are not only for recruiting brochures. We are real and nuanced.
My mother is a writer and I have always been encouraged to write as a means of liberation for myself. Through her influence on my life, I have championed the idea of creating yourself to freedom, which is about owning our narratives and using creativity of our inheritance to map a journey toward self-actualization. Words may have been used to enslave me, but I have also used them to free me. And that impact is compounded when my voice joins together with others. It’s been the greatest joy to not write this book alone.
Suhaiymah, Waithera, and Lola, have always been there along the way. To see our stories intersect, diverge, and empower, has only strengthened our work.
This book is much more than just a collection of prose, poetry, and essays about our time at Cambridge. It’s about every institution that is steeped in power and elitism. Every institution that writes strict codes of who can represent it, and who it serves. This book will resonate with anyone who has ever found themselves in the midst of these institutions or wondering what the insides are like. We don’t represent every story, but we do represent our stories. Join us in having these discussions.
A FLY Girl’s Guide To University is out on Thursday 24th January and available for pre-order with free postage right up to the end of January. Order your copy by clicking on the book cover above!
Odelia, Suhaiymah, Lola and Waithera are launching their wonderful book at three (and only three) UK events this month! They will talk about the book, answer questions, read poetry and sign copies at inspiring events in Cambridge, Birmingham and London. Follow the links below to book tickets – you don’t want to miss them!
Cambridge – 26/01/19 – https://bit.ly/2CCEFGp
Birmingham – 30/01/19 – https://bit.ly/2FNgmIU
London – 02/02/19 – https://bit.ly/2AY8jG2