As the festive season is almost upon us, we at Dialogue Books thought we’d make gift-giving easier for you this year and provide a curated selection of our books for you to consider when looking for a present for that special someone. What better than a book this Christmas, after all? Affordable magic that can help transport, inform, entertain and galvanise a reader. Now, the hard part is narrowing down your selection!
For the anti-girl boss
'Incredible insight with a transgressive, witty, spirit.' COURTNEY LOVE
'The most sensational read of 2022!' GEMMA COLLINS
'A breath of fresh air... I want so many people to read this!' TRAVIS ALABANZA
'Visionary' VIV ALBERTINE
A STYLIST MUST-READ FOR 2022
Wellness is oppressive, self love is a trap, hustling is a health risk and it's all the patriarchy's fault.
Ione Gamble never imagined that entering adulthood would mean being diagnosed with an incurable illness. Watching identity politics become social media fodder from the confines of her sickbed Ione began to pick apart our obsession with self-care, personal branding, productivity and #LivingYourBestLife.
Using her experience with disability to cast a fresh gaze on the particularly peculiar cultural moment in which young women find themselves, Poor Little Sick Girls explores the pressures faced - as well as the power of existing as an unacceptable woman in our current era of empowerment.
Founder of Polyester zine and a host of The Polyester Podcast, Ione has been named one of fifteen coolest young Londoners by The Evening Standard, and a 2019 New Debutante in Tatler Magazine. If you love Trick Mirror, Feminists Don't Wear Pink and Hood Feminism,you don't want to miss this book.
For the literary lover
'A beautiful exploration of grief and family, written in exquisite prose and told with compassion and tenderness.' Brit Bennett, author of The Vanishing Half
'Tender and honest, pulsing with love. Nzelu is the future of Black British writing.' Derek Owusu, author of That Reminds Me
From award-winning author Okechukwu Nzelu comes a spellbinding literary novel that asks, how do you move forward when the past keeps pulling you back?
Achike Okoro feels like his life is coming together at last. His top-floor flat in Peckham is as close to home as he can imagine and after years of hard work, he's about to get his break as an actor. He's even persuaded his father, Chibuike, to move in with him, grateful to offer the man who raised him as a single parent a home of his own.
Between filming trips, Achike is snatching a few days in London with Ekene, his best friend of twenty years, the person who makes him feel whole. Achike can put the terrible things that happened behind him at last; everything is going to be alright. Maybe even better.
But after a magical night, when Achike and Ekene come within a hair's breadth of admitting their feelings for each other, a devastating event rips all three men apart. In the aftermath, it is Ekene and Chibuike who must try to rebuild. And although they have never truly understood each other, grief may bring them both the peace and happiness they've been searching for...
A heartbreaking and immensely uplifting novel about lovers, fathers and sons. The perfect gift this Christmas for fans of The Vanishing Half, Shuggie Bain or Moonlight. Readers will adore this this incredibly moving book that shows the power of family - both the one into which we are born and those we choose for ourselves.
What readers are saying about Here Again Now:
'A deeply intimate novel. Nzelu's incisive style probes beneath his characters' layers to expose vulnerability, joy, and love... Here Again Now is a revelation.' Courttia Newland
'I loved these heartbreaking characters, their flaws were never glossed over in Nzelu's work, and their humanity shines out all the brighter for that. I cannot recommend this novel enough.' Paterson Joseph
'Okechukwu Nzelu is truly coming into his power as a novelist. It's a beautiful and memorable book. Watch him soar.' Niven Govinden
'WOW, Nzelu is a BEAUTIFUL writer. A truly stunning love story. Heavy themes captured with grace and lightness. Tender, erotic, a total pleasure to read. Pre-order and be smug when it wins all the awards.' Daisy Buchanan
'His most assured, daring work. Telling a riveting and heartbreaking tale... A gloriously moving book which willsurely collect every award going.' Harper's Bazaar
'A novel of great tenderness and understanding. Nzelu's words feel both wise and fresh on the page.' Elizabeth Day
'An elegiac take on the unpredictabilities of the heart and a love that survives loss.' Paul Mendez
'A book so beautiful, it makes your heart ache on every page. Utterly brilliant, I loved it.' Julie Owen Moylan
'One to watch next year.' Stylist
'A powerful and heartbreaking novel; Okechukwu Nzelu is a vital voice.' Andrew McMillan
'Nzelu confirms his place as one of the most exciting and versatile writers of his generation.' Angela Chadwick
'A transgenerational story of grief as tender, potent and nimble as love.' Kit Fan
For the hopeless romantic
Her best friend's brother. A broken heart. A fake relationship.
Cosy up with this laugh-out-loud TikTok sensation!
Daisy Patel has her life all planned out, and no interest in love. Her family, however, expect a marriage.
Liam Murphy is a venture capitalist with something to prove. Until he realises his inheritance is contingent on being married.
A fake marriage will get Daisy's matchmaking relatives off her back and fulfil the terms of his late grandfather's will. If only he hadn't broken her tender teenage heart nine years ago . . .
Sparks fly when Daisy and Liam go on a series of dates to legitimise their fake relationship. Too late, they realize that this might not be the perfect plan.
For the time-traveller
PICKED FOR THE TIMES BIGGEST BOOKS FOR AUTUMN 2022
'An absolutely thrilling, throat-catching wonder of a historical novel. Told with dazzling energy and brilliant panache. Hugely recommended.' STEPHEN FRY
'Phenomenal! Highly recommended' MALORIE BLACKMAN, author of Noughts and Crosses
'Not to be missed' Guardian
MEET CHARLES IGNATIUS SANCHO: HIS EXTRAORDINARY STORY, HIDDEN FOR THREE HUNDRED YEARS, IS ABOUT TO BE TOLD. DISCOVER GEORGIAN LONDON AS YOU'VE NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE . . .
I had little right to live, born on a slave ship where my parents both died. But I survived, and indeed, you might say I did more...
It's 1746 and Georgian London is not a safe place for a young Black man, especially one who has escaped slavery. After the twinkling lights in the Fleet Street coffee shops are blown out and the great houses have closed their doors for the night, Sancho is utterly alone. The man he hoped would help is dying. Sancho is desperate.
And yet this same Sancho will go on to tread the boards of London's theatres, become a highly acclaimed musician and composer, lead the fight to end slavery, meet the King and become the very first Black person to vote in Britain . . .
It's time for him to tell his story, one that begins on a tempestuous Atlantic Ocean, and ends at the very centre of London life. And through it all, he must ask: born amongst death, how much can you achieve in one short life?
From one of Britain's best-loved actors, Paterson Joseph, comes an utterly captivating historical novel, telling the true story of a Great Black Briton. Fans of Bridgerton, Hamilton, The Miniaturist and The Confessions of Frannie Langton will adore being led into the heart of Black Georgian London.
For the existentialist
'I have more privilege than any person in my family. And I'm still screwed.'
A young woman attends a play about the Berlin Wall coming down, and is the only Black person in the audience.
She is sitting with her boyfriend by a bathing lake, and four neo-Nazis show up.
She is having sex with a stranger in New York, and Donald Trump wins the US presidential election.
Engaging in a witty question and answer with herself, she takes stock of our rapidly changing times, sometimes angry, sometimes amused, sometimes afraid, and always passionate. And she tells the story of her family: Her mother, a punk in former East Germany who never had the freedom she dreamed of. Her Angolan father, who returned to his home country before she was born to start a second family. Her grandmother, whose life of obedience to party principles brought her prosperity and security but not happiness. And her twin brother, who took his own life at the age of nineteen.
The heart-rending, opinionated, and wry debut to get lost in this Christmas. Olivia Wenzel's remarkable novel is a clear-sighted investigation into origins and belonging, the roles society wants to force us into and why we need to resist them, and the freedoms and fears that being the odd one out brings.
'So exuberant, inventive, brainy, sensitive and hilarious that it's like a pyrotechnic flare illuminating the whole woman, past and present, radiant, unique, a voice and a novel to take with us into the future.'
FRANCISCO GOLDMAN, author of Monkey Boy
'Bold and exceptional . . . Her impressive writing, born of a brilliant mind, surprises - stylistically, and by its frankness and associations . . . I rode in the passenger seat, beside the beauty and strangeness of 1000 Coils of Fear.'
LYNNE TILLMAN, author of Men and Apparitions and Mothercare
'An audacious and disturbing novel.'
MICHELLE DE KRETSER, author of Scary Monsters
'An exciting, confident debut.' Publishers Weekly
'Impressive, relentless, tender.' Faz
For the charitable one
Do you wish you could do more to change the world but don't know how? Do you ever look around at the many charities asking for donations and feel overwhelmed? This inspiring and uplifting book explores the effectiveness of charity and calls for more radical giving if we want to contribute to a better world.
During a period when British society seems more divided than ever, and our decision makers are even more disconnected from the issues that keep us awake at night, Giving Back highlights the people and movements taking on some of the most challenging social issues of our time.
A respected figure in philanthropy, Derek A. Bardowell presents a unique insight into what's going on inside the world of giving and where we can best make a difference.
From redefining the role of charity itself to reimagining philanthropy through a reparative lens, Bardowell introduces a radical new take on how social problems, from climate change to racial injustice, can be tackled in modern society by all of us.
Filled with lively insights and moving stories, Giving Back is here to break down the walls of charitable giving. If you loved Factfulness, Lost Connections, and What White People Can Do Next, this book will challenge some of your truths and change the way you give.
What people are saying about Derek A. Bardowell:
'Personal, political, powerful.' Bernardine Evaristo
'Important and timely... Deeply felt and illuminating... Essential reading for everyone committed to fairness and equality in life.' Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars
'A valuable act of remembrance... While wealth may confer privileges, it doesn't rid you of melanin or exempt you from prejudice.' Colin Grant, Guardian
'Bardowell does an excellent and passionate job of refracting the issues.' Financial Times
'I absolutely loved it!... Such a good read on so many levels.' Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars
For the film fan
'Niven Govinden's Diary of a Film, his sixth novel, is also his best yet. Smart, sexy and cinematic (in many senses), it is a love letter to Italy and to film' Observer
'Immersive . . . This is a wise and skilfully controlled novel that can be read in an afternoon, but which radiates in the mind for much longer' Financial Times
'A beautiful, poignant novel of love and longing' Telegraph
An auteur, together with his lead actors, is at a prestigious European festival to premiere his latest film.
Alone one morning at a backstreet café, he strikes up a conversation with a local woman who takes him on a walk to uncover the city's secrets, historic and personal. As the walk unwinds, a story of love and tragedy emerges, and he begins to see the chance meeting as fate. He is entranced, wholly clear in his mind: her story must surely form the basis for his next film.
This is a novel about cinema, flâneurs, and queer love - it is about the sometimes troubled, sometimes ecstatic creative process, and the toll it takes on its makers.
But it is also a novel about stories, and the ongoing question of who has the right to tell them.
For the activist
'An incredibly honest tale of survival, escape and resilience' The Observer
'Roche is a charming, unflinchingly honest guide on a journey that's as funny as it is heart-breaking.' JUNO DAWSON
How does an untrained eye recognise the process of dying, when your mind is fixed firmly on living?
A radically honest and uplifting memoir about defying death and learning to live.
Juno Roche was born into a working-class family in London in the sixties, who dabbled in minor crime. For their father, violence and love lived together; for their mother, addiction was the only way to survive. School was a respite, but shortly after beginning their university course Juno was diagnosed with HIV, then a death sentence.
Juno is a survivor; they outlived their diagnosis, got a degree and became an artist. But however hard you try to take the kid out of the family, some scars go too deep; trying to run from AIDS and their childhood threw Juno into dark years of serious drug addiction, addiction often financed by sex work.
Running from home eventually took Juno across the sea to a tiny village in Spain, surrounded by mountains. Only once they found a quiet little house with an olive tree in the garden did Juno start to wonder if they had run too far, and whether they have really been searching for a family all along.
In an incredibly honest and brave book, Juno takes us through the moments of their life: Mum sending Christmas cards containing Valium, drug withdrawal on a River Nile cruise, overcoming their father's violence and finding their dream house in Spain. Showing immense resilience, Juno's memoir is a book about what it means to stay alive.
Emotional, tragic and incredibly funny, A Working-Class Family Ages Badly is an unforgettable must-read memoir for anyone who loves Educated, Deborah Levy and Motherwell.
'Delicate and devastating. Up there with the best of them.' HANNAH LOWE, WINNER OF THE COSTA PRIZE
'Full of heart, wit and charm. I'm obsessed with this book.' Travis Alabanza
'So gripping, I had to make myself slow down to appreciate the quality of the writing. Such a powerful story and so beautifully written.' Paul Burston
'Utterly unique. Nobody can write with warmth and confrontation the way Juno can.' Tom Rasmussen
'Compassionate, dreamlike and deeply moving.' CN Lester
'Should be read by everyone.' Irenosen Okojie
'Juno has always been a literary voice like no one else, scathingly honest and endlessly expansive.' Amelia Abraham
For the sexually curious
A DOROTHY KOOMSON BOOK OF THE YEAR
AN ECONOMIST BOOK OF THE YEAR
'Such a beautiful read, like chatting to a friend over a cuppa. This is the intimate, insightful read that I didn't know I needed. Just brilliant.' Dorothy Koomson
An empowering, affirming and joyful book to get lost in this Christmas.
Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah spent decades talking openly and intimately to African women around the world about sex. In this book, she brings together their extraordinary stories, whilst also chronicling her own journey towards sexual freedom.
From finding queer community in Egypt to living a polyamorous life in Senegal to understanding the intersectionality of religion and pleasure in Cameroon, their necessary narratives are individual and illuminating. This stunning collection provides crucial insight into our quest for sexual power and offers all women inspirational examples to live a truly liberated life.
'Touching, joyful, defiant – and honest.' Economist, Books of the Year 2021
'Fascinating.' Bernadine Evaristo
'Honest and moving. A vital treasure.' Bolu Babalola, author of Love in Colour
'Stunning. Essential read! I couldn't put it down.' Nicole Dennis-Benn, bestselling author of Patsy and Here Comes the Sun
'Leaves you feeling deliciously empowered.' Lola Shoneyin, author of The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives
'Boundary-breaking, fascinating and deeply affirming.' Otegha Uwagba, author of Little Black Book
For the escapist
'An elegantly written and emotionally engrossing work of fiction.' Bernardine Evaristo, Booker Prize-winning author of Girl, Woman, Other
An emotional, tender and funny novel from award-winning author Alecia McKenzie that asks, what does family mean to you?
Seeking solitude after a personal tragedy upends his world, artist Chris travels to his mother's homeland, Jamaica, in a bid to find peace. He expects to spend his time painting alone, coming to terms with his loss and the fractured relationship with his father. Instead, he discovers a new extended and complicated 'family' with their own startling stories. Can they help him to become whole again?
Told from different points of view, this is an utterly compelling and deeply relatable novel from the winner of two Commonwealth literary prizes. The perfect gift this Christmas for fans of Girl, Woman, Other and The Vanishing Half, readers will love this book about friendship, community, chosen family, and healing after trauma.
What readers are saying about A Million Aunties:
'This is a wonderful story about the families we're given and those we make for ourselves. A life-affirming read.' Louise Hare, author of This Lovely City
'This warm and wise story celebrates the importance of community and belonging.' Woman's Own
'A tender novel.' Hello
'Have you ever not wanted a book to end? Were disappointed that the characters are gone from your life?... Makes you yearn for more.' New York Journal of Books
'An absolute delight!... Trust me - if you enjoy character-driven, multicultural fiction, you're going to want to get your hands on this book ASAP.' Reader review
'Emotional, enthralling and heartfelt... A story of loss and the infinite types of love.' Woman's World
'Pulls you in and holds you right till the end. It's strongly written with a delicate touch.' New West Indian Guide
'Tender... An emotionally resonant ode to adopted families and community resilience.' New York Times
'This big-hearted narrative of love, loss and family is handled with grace and beauty.' Publishers Weekly
'A beautiful book for anyone who knows there is more to family than blood relations.' Book Culture
For the aspirer
'A vivid depiction of how easy it is to get trapped by other people's expectations. Full of heartbreak but also hope, I really rooted for the women in this novel.' Louise Hare
Can you ever escape your past?
Cat knows she should be more grateful for her partner James. As a young woman struggling to care for her alcoholic mother, he whisked her away from the violence and addiction of her council estate home and offered her a taste of middle-class comfort.
But twenty years later, the escape he offered has begun to feel stifling. Surrounded by immaculate white carpets and scented candles, everything has its place in James's house, except it seems, Cat. She had a place to study at university after finishing school, but her mother was too unwell for Cat to take it. She begins to dream of the opportunities education could offer her.
At a university open day, Cat finds herself standing before teenage boyfriend, Daniel, now a lecturer. As the spark that drew them together returns, Cat hopes that he can in some way help her reconnect with the drive and optimism of her younger self. Or perhaps she is simply hurtling back towards a past that can only hurt her further...
Can Cat let go of her demons to become the person she always hoped to be, or is it too late?
What readers are saying about Ungrateful:
'A total pleasure.' Eva Verde
'Touched me deeply.' Juno Roche
'Compulsively readable with huge heart.' Alex Allison
'Clever, gripping, heartbreaking but also ultimately hopeful. I want to read this book again and again and again.' Cat White
'I loved it. As soon as I started reading, I was in. Ungrateful expertly explores the physical, emotional and intellectual repercussions of being born into poverty.' Lynne Voyce
'Kept me on the edge of my seat, courageously challenging mainstream conceptions of class with an empowering message for positive change. Gets hold of the working-class stereotype and smashes it to bits.' Shaun Wilson
'I inhaled this book!... Just want to read it all over again.' Eve Ainsworth
'A soul-questioning novel that helps us understand the currency of gratitude in our deeply imbalanced and transactional world in which to change one's life is to be indebted to someone else's.' Kit Fan
For the historian
ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S FAVOURITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR
A NUMBER ONE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR NON-FICTION
'A beautifully readable reminder of how much of our urgent, collective history resounds in places all around us that have been hidden in plain sight.' Afua Hirsch, author of Brit(ish)
Beginning in his hometown of New Orleans, Clint Smith leads the reader on an unforgettable tour of monuments and landmarks - those that are honest about the past and those that are not - which offer an intergenerational story of how slavery has been central in shaping a nation's collective history, and our own.
It is the story of the Monticello Plantation in Virginia, the estate where Thomas Jefferson wrote letters espousing the urgent need for liberty while enslaving more than four hundred people. It is the story of the Whitney Plantation, one of the only former plantations devoted to preserving the experience of the enslaved people whose lives and work sustained it. It is the story of Angola, a former plantation-turned-maximum-security prison in Louisiana that is filled with Black men who work across the 18,000-acre land for virtually no pay. And it is the story of Blandford Cemetery, the final resting place of tens of thousands of Confederate soldiers.
A deeply researched and transporting exploration of the legacy of slavery and its imprint on centuries of American history, How the Word Is Passed illustrates how some of our most essential stories are hidden in plain view - whether in places we might drive by on our way to work, holidays such as Juneteenth or entire neighbourhoods like downtown Manhattan, where the brutal history of the trade in enslaved men, women and children has been deeply imprinted.
How the Word is Passed is a landmark book that offers a new understanding of the hopeful role that memory and history can play in making sense of the United States. Chosen as a book of the year by President Barack Obama, The Economist, Time, the New York Times and more, fans of Brit(ish) and Natives will be utterly captivated.
What readers are saying about How the Word is Passed:
'How the Word Is Passed frees history, frees humanity to reckon honestly with the legacy of slavery. We need this book.' Ibram X. Kendi, Number One New York Times bestselling author
'An extraordinary contribution to the way we understand ourselves.' Julian Lucas, New York Times Book Review
'The detail and depth of the storytelling is vivid and visceral, making history present and real.' Hope Wabuke, NPR
'This isn't just a work of history, it's an intimate, active exploration of how we're still constructing and distorting our history." Ron Charles, The Washington Post
'In re-examining neighbourhoods, holidays and quotidian sites, Smith forces us to reconsider what we think we know about American history.' Time
'A history of slavery in this country unlike anything you've read before.' Entertainment Weekly
'A beautifully written, evocative, and timely meditation on the way slavery is commemorated in the United States.' Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize-winning author