At the end of a Book Club Influencer panel, I approached Glory Edim—founder of the Well-Read Black Girl universe and—leaving all professional agenda behind—stuck out my hand and said, “I’ve just always wanted to meet you.” Can you blame me? Glory’s busted the entire world of well-read black girls wide open, promoting black women writers and creating a community for girls like her (like us). By doing this out of her sheer love of books, she’s revealed to publishers the value of black women readership. Naturally, her Instagram is booming with 68K followers (because, if you didn’t know: we show up where we’re represented). This brand of black girl magic is so pervasive that the likes of Lena Waithe was caught wearing a Well-Read Black Girl tee-shirt in her Vanity Fair feature.
Early, early one morning, I was called to get my hair braided on the roof of my aunt’s house. I didn’t think twice. I grabbed my sister’s book: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. As the sun rose, you could hear calls for prayer, vendors opening, people rising for work—the usually bustling town picking up where it left off the night before. But I was engrossed in this book, the dazzling rendering of this beautiful story of brotherhood and redemption. I was 19. That was the first book I remember experiencing.