“I’m not Queenie, but we see the world through the same lens”
Candice Carty-Williams is a British writer and author of the Sunday Times bestselling Queenie. She was born in Westminster and grew up in South London. Her debut novel Queenie is a bestseller. Candice Carty-Williams is also the first Black writer to win Book of the Year at the British Book Awards. She was nominated alongside Lisa Taddeo, Oyinkan Braithwaite, and Margaret Atwood. She has contributed to Guardian, i-D, Vogue International, the Sunday Times, BEAT Magazine, and Black Ballad. In 2016, she created and launched the Guardian and 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize, a prize that aims to find, advocate, and celebrate black, Asian, and minority ethnic writers. She has worked in media before moving into publishing at the age of 23. Candice Carty-Williams has worked on marketing literary fiction, non-fiction, and graphic novels. Candice studied media at Sussex. She also was a Bookseller Rising Star in 2016.
Her debut book Queenie tells the story of a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman whose life starts to unravel when she takes a break from her long-term boyfriend and struggles with her Jamaican British identity. She has shared what it means to be a Black and British. Candice Carty-Williams is a famous public figure, who is admired and an inspiration for many people. Her book has been the most talked about in 2019 after receiving a wave of critical acclaim. Her book Queenie has sold more than 15 million copies. In the USA, Queenie has received an overwhelming response from the readers. She has also contributed an essay to the anthology New daughters of Africa (2019).
After winning the Book of the year title, she said, “I don’t quite know how I feel about winning Book of the Year; I’m proud of myself, yes, and grateful to the incredible team that helped me get Queenie out of my head and onto the shelves” She also added “I’m also sad and confused that I’m the first black AND female author to have won this award since it began,”
“I think everyone has a story to tell – whether you’ve got it from a specific place, or you’ve grown up in it, or you’ve got it from your imagination.”
Many newcomer Black authors struggle to make their first book published, and even more difficult it is to make out in a competition. About only 6% of authors published in the UK are people of color.
Candice Carty-Williams is most inspired by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and also the surrounding women. Her favorite authors are Alexia Arthur, Diana Evans, and Courttia Newland. She thinks that writing can help with better mental health. When you are anxious or depressed, you can write what you are going through but also through the lens of someone else. Or sharing your thoughts and what are you feeling on paper can help you release anxiety and stress. Her writings around blackness and sexuality are very popular all over the world. She has dedicated her debut book to her two childhood friends who died young. Candice Carty-Williams has written the first draft of her second book which will be published very soon. Her second novel is about Grief and how Grief does not ever leave you.
Her mother worked as a hospital receptionist, and her father was a cab driver. Talking about her childhood, she said that it was shit and lonely. She thinks that movements like Black Lives Matter are very important. In her opinion Finding one’s true value does not come from love or sex. One has to find its true value within him/herself. Candice has been successful in empowering Black females and highlighting that it is impossible to cope up with life the entire time. Life can get messy, which is okay. Her winning is an interesting moment and memory in the cultural history of Blacks.