Black writers do not often get the opportunity to make their mark in the publishing world. The New York Times recently released a statement that of all the books published in the United States, only 11 percent are written by people of color. Despite these staggering odds, there is still a wealth of Black talent to look out for in terms of up-and-coming authors. Zakiya Dalila Harris is one such figure.
With a penchant for academia and hard work, Harris received a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MFA in Non-Fiction writing at The New School in Manhattan. Harris went on to work for Knopf Doubleday publishing before writing her manuscript for her upcoming novel, The Other Black Girl, which is scheduled to be released in the Summer of 2021.
The book will follow 26-year-old Nella Roger’s journey as one of only two Black women working at a predominantly White publishing company. Through the book, Harris provides social commentary on the issue of representation in the writing world. Considering Harris’s background in non-fiction writing and her own experience working in publishing, one can only imagine that the novel contains aspects of Harris’s real-world experience.
Still, if you aren’t interested in reading The Other Black Girl this June 2021, you may be interested in watching it. Tara Duncan, the former Netflix executive who helped develop shows such as “Orange Is the New Black,” has struck a deal with Hulu and Harris to produce a televised version of the novel. Harris will also serve as a co-writer for the show. Ultimately, Duncan and Harris’ partnership is an exciting one, as two Black women are leading the conversation on the experience of people of color in the publishing world.
While the project is still in development, expect to hear Zakiya Dalila Harris’s name more in the near future.