7 Books Published by Catapult on AALBC — Book Cover Collage

Click for more detail about Sankofa by Chibundu Onuzo Sankofa

by Chibundu Onuzo
Catapult (Feb 07, 2023)
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Anna is at a stage of her life when she’s beginning to wonder who she really is. In her 40s, she has separated from her husband, her daughter is all grown up, and her mother—the only parent who raised her—is dead.

Searching through her mother’s belongings one day, Anna finds clues about the African father she never knew. His student diaries chronicle his involvement in radical politics in 1970s London. Anna discovers that he eventually became the president—some would say dictator—of a small nation in West Africa. And he is still alive…

When Anna decides to track her father down, a journey begins that is disarmingly moving, funny, and fascinating. Like the metaphorical bird that gives the novel its name, Sankofa expresses the importance of reaching back to knowledge gained in the past and bringing it into the present to address universal questions of race and belonging, the overseas experience for the African diaspora, and the search for a family’s hidden roots. Examining freedom, prejudice, and personal and public inheritance, Sankofa is a story for anyone who has ever gone looking for a clear identity or home, and found something more complex in its place.

Click for more detail about The Islands: Stories by Dionne Irving The Islands: Stories

by Dionne Irving
Catapult (Nov 01, 2022)
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Powerful stories that explore the legacy of colonialism, and issues of race, immigration, sexual discrimination, and class in the lives of Jamaican women across London, Panama, France, Jamaica, Florida, and more.

The Islands follows the lives of Jamaican women—immigrants or the descendants of immigrants—who have relocated all over the world to escape the ghosts of colonialism on what they call the Island. Set in the United States, Jamaica, and Europe, these international stories examine the lives of an uncertain and unsettled cast of characters. In one story, a woman and her husband impulsively leave San Francisco and move to Florida with wild dreams of American reinvention only to unearth the cracks in their marriage. In another, the only Jamaican mother—who is also a touring comedienne—at a prep school feels pressure to volunteer in the school’s International Day. Meanwhile, in the third story, a travel writer finally connects with the mother who once abandoned her.

Set in locations and times ranging from 1950s London to 1960s Panama to modern-day New Jersey, Dionne Irving reveals the intricacies of immigration and assimilation in this debut, establishing a new and unforgettable voice in Caribbean-American literature. Restless, displaced, and disconnected, these characters try to ground themselves—to grow where they find themselves planted—in a world in which the tension between what’s said and unsaid can bend the soul.

Click for more detail about This Boy We Made: A Memoir of Motherhood, Genetics, and Facing the Unknown by Taylor Harris This Boy We Made: A Memoir of Motherhood, Genetics, and Facing the Unknown

by Taylor Harris
Catapult (Jan 11, 2022)
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Finalist for the 2023 Southern Book Prize

A Black mother finds herself confronting the boundaries of her beliefs—about science, medicine, motherhood, and faith—as she seeks the truth about her son. Taylor Harris wakes up one morning to find her lively twenty-two-month-old son, Tophs, listless and weak, prompting her to rush him to the doctor. Despite her own anxiety disorder, she follows her maternal instincts and seeks medical help. The doctors confirm that something is wrong with Tophs, setting Taylor on a journey that will forever change her life.

As the doctors provide answers to some of her questions about her son’s troubling symptoms, more questions arise, and Taylor embarks on a relentless pursuit of a diagnosis. Navigating a healthcare system that often fails Black mothers and children becomes a challenging task, requiring her to invest countless hours and endure both frustration and discrimination. Amidst her tireless efforts, Taylor also faces her own health revelations during an appointment with a geneticist.

This Boy We Made is a poignant and beautifully written exploration of the profound bond between a mother and her child. Through the hardships and unexpected twists that unfold, Taylor gains valuable insights into the meaning of life and the strength required to navigate through unforeseen circumstances.

Click for more detail about White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color by Ruby Hamad White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color

by Ruby Hamad
Catapult (Oct 06, 2020)
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Called "powerful and provocative by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, author of the New York Times bestselling How to be an Antiracist, this explosive book of history and cultural criticism reveals how white feminism has been used as a weapon of white supremacy and patriarchy deployed against Black and Indigenous women, and women of color.

Taking us from the slave era, when white women fought in court to keep "ownership" of their slaves, through the centuries of colonialism, when they offered a soft face for brutal tactics, to the modern workplace, White Tears/Brown Scars tells a charged story of white women’s active participation in campaigns of oppression. It offers a long overdue validation of the experiences of women of color.

Discussing subjects as varied as The Hunger Games, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the viral BBQ Becky video, and 19th century lynchings of Mexicans in the American Southwest, Ruby Hamad undertakes a new investigation of gender and race. She shows how the division between innocent white women and racialized, sexualized women of color was created, and why this division is crucial to confront.

Along the way, there are revelatory responses to questions like: Why are white men not troubled by sexual assault on women? (See Christine Blasey Ford.) With rigor and precision, Hamad builds a powerful argument about the legacy of white superiority that we are socialized within, a reality that we must apprehend in order to fight.

A stunning and thorough look at White womanhood that should be required reading for anyone who claims to be an intersectional feminist. Hamad’s controlled urgency makes the book an illuminating and poignant read. Hamad is a purveyor of such bold thinking, the only question is, are we ready to listen? —Rosa Boshier, The Washington Post

Click for more detail about Black Sunday by Tola Rotimi Abraham Black Sunday

by Tola Rotimi Abraham
Catapult (Feb 04, 2020)
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"I like the idea of a god who knows what it’s like to be a twin. To have no memory of ever being alone."

Twin sisters Bibike and Ariyike are enjoying a relatively comfortable life in Lagos in 1996. Then their mother loses her job due to political strife, and the family, facing poverty, becomes drawn into the New Church, an institution led by a charismatic pastor who is not shy about worshipping earthly wealth.

Soon Bibike and Ariyike’s father wagers the family home on a "sure bet" that evaporates like smoke. As their parents’ marriage collapses in the aftermath of this gamble, the twin sisters and their two younger siblings, Andrew and Peter, are thrust into the reluctant care of their traditional Yoruba grandmother. Inseparable while they had their parents to care for them, the twins’ paths diverge once the household shatters. Each girl is left to locate, guard, and hone her own fragile source of power.

Written with astonishing intimacy and wry attention to the fickleness of fate, Tola Rotimi Abraham’s Black Sunday takes us into the chaotic heart of family life, tracing a line from the euphoria of kinship to the devastation of estrangement. In the process, it joyfully tells a tale of grace and connection in the midst of daily oppression and the constant incursions of an unremitting patriarchy. This is a novel about two young women slowly finding, over twenty years, in a place rife with hypocrisy but also endless life and love, their own distinct methods of resistance and paths to independence.

Click for more detail about In the Country of Women: A Memoir by Susan Straight In the Country of Women: A Memoir

by Susan Straight
Catapult (Aug 06, 2019)
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"To understand my daughters and their sisterhood, you have to know the women, and sisters, who came before." In the Country of Women is a valuable social history and a personal narrative that reads like a love song to America and the nation’s indomitable women, written by National Book Award finalist and Guggenheim Fellow Susan Straight

Click for more detail about Welcome to Lagos: A Novel by Chibundu Onuzo Welcome to Lagos: A Novel

by Chibundu Onuzo
Catapult (May 01, 2018)
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A provocative portrait of a rapidly-changing Nigeria by a “tremendous” young novelist who is “energizing the form.” (William Boyd, The Guardian)

When army officer Chike Ameobi is ordered to kill innocent civilians, he knows it is time to desert his post. As he travels toward Lagos with Yemi, his junior officer, and into the heart of a political scandal involving Nigeria’s education minister, Chike becomes the leader of a new platoon, a band of runaways who share his desire for a different kind of life. Among them is Fineboy, a fighter with a rebel group, desperate to pursue his dream of becoming a radio DJ; Isoken, a 16-year-old girl whose father is thought to have been killed by rebels; and the beautiful Oma, escaping a wealthy, abusive husband.

Full of humor and heart, Welcome to Lagos is a high-spirited novel about aspirations and escape, innocence and corruption. It offers a provocative portrait of contemporary Nigeria that marks the arrival in the United States of an extraordinary young writer.