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The Other Black Girl: A Novel (Paperback)
June 2021 Indie Next List
“This is the tale of two Black women co-workers in the cutthroat publishing industry trying to determine if they are friends or enemies. A literary fiction tale with a side of suspense, this expertly woven critique on society is bound to keep readers on the edge of their seats.”
— Kirsten Wilson, The Snail on the Wall, Huntsville, AL
“Riveting, fearless, and vividly original” (Emily St. John Mandel, New York Times bestselling author), this instant New York Times bestseller explores the tension that unfurls when two young Black women meet against the starkly white backdrop of New York City book publishing.
Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust.
Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW.
It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realizes that there’s a lot more at stake than just her career. Having joined Wagner Books to honor the legacy of Burning Heart, a novel written and edited by two Black women, she had thought that this animosity was a relic of the past. Is Nella ready to take on the fight of a new generation?
“Poignant, daring, and darkly funny, The Other Black Girl will have you stressed and exhilarated in equal measure through the very last twist” (Vulture). The perfect read for anyone who has ever felt manipulated, threatened, or overlooked in the workplace.
About the Author
Zakiya Dalila Harris spent nearly three years in editorial at Knopf/Doubleday before leaving to write her debut novel The Other Black Girl. Prior to working in publishing, Zakiya received her MFA in creative writing from The New School. Her essays and book reviews have appeared in Cosmopolitan, Guernica, and The Rumpus. She lives in Brooklyn.
“Filled with twists both unsettling and unexpected . . . such a timely read.”
“A thrilling, edgier Devil Wears Prada that explores privilege and racism.”
— Washington Post
“A sly satire and thriller rolled into one.”
“Riveting, fearless, and vividly original. This is an exciting debut.”
— EMILY ST. JOHN MANDEL, New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Hotel
“A psychological thriller for the modern-day working girl . . . filled with suspenseful twists and turns.”
“A dazzling, darkly humorous story…the novel overflows with witty dialogue and skillfully drawn characters, its biggest strength lies in its penetrating critique of gatekeeping in the publishing industry and the deleterious effects it can have on Black editors. This insightful, spellbinding book packs a heavy punch.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred)
“Harris’ genre-bending evisceration of workplace privilege is set to become the debut of the summer.”
— Entertainment Weekly
“Harris isn't afraid of taking risks in this book, pushing the plot to thrilling heights. As extraordinary as The Other Black Girl's story becomes, it's rooted in all-too-real social problems.”
— Oprah Daily
“Wholly earned brilliance. Harris makes her entrance as an author with singular style. Whatever she does next might seem quieter, but watch for it: It will be brilliant.”
“Funny and subversive, this debut about the trials of a Black assistant at a mostly white publishing house uses suspense, horror and satire to bring home the toll of workplace racism.”
“A debut novel that is the perfect mix of social commentary and fast-paced thriller. Poignant, daring, and darkly funny, The Other Black Girl will have you stressed and exhilarated in equal measure through the very last twist.”
“Witty, inventive, and smart, The Other Black Girl goes deeper to take on class privilege, race, and gender in a narrative that slyly plays along the edges of convention. Zakiya Dalila Harris’s debut is a brilliant combustion of suspense, horror, and social commentary that leaves no assumption unchallenged and no page unturned.”
— WALTER MOSLEY, internationally bestselling author of Devil in a Blue Dress
“A satire of the clueless racial politics at a prestigious literary house with, in its second half, a horror-movie twist."
— Wall Street Journal
“Filled with twists and moments that make you think, Zakiya Dalila Harris’ The Other Black Girl is the sharp, compulsive thriller you need this June.”
“Harris is excellent at capturing the way a job can become a person's whole identity, and takes readers on a bracing, whip-smart, piercingly funny trip into a supposedly enlightened industry — and world — where racism, classism, and sexism all conspire to destabilize anyone who isn't willing to play the game.”
— Refinery 29
“Initially satirical and then spectacularly creepy [...] This unique thriller [has] echoes of both Jordan Peele and, in the end, George Orwell.”
— Washington Post
“[A] perceptive exploration of racism in publishing, wrapped up in a whip-smart story of young women at war in the workplace.”
— Los Angeles Times
"This twisty thriller will resonate with anyone who has struggled to find her voice as the only Black woman in the room."
“[A] brilliant debut …The novel takes some bold stylistic risks that pay off beautifully, leaving the reader longing for more of Harris's words and unique view on the world.”