'I can't help but be dismayed': Reni Eddo-Lodge becomes first black British woman to top UK non-fiction charts
As anti-racism protests grow around the world, readers are picking up titles that tackle white supremacy and prejudice
The killing of George Floyd has sparked anti-racism protests around the world. It has also caused an uptick in readers educating themselves about these injustices, as evidenced by the surge of book sales on racism and white supremacy.
Reni Eddo-Lodge, the author of Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, is currently the bestselling non-fiction book for Amazon UK, and the title is temporarily out of stock. In a tweet, the author revealed that this makes her the first and only black British woman to top the UK’s non-fiction bestseller chart.
This week, it knocked Michelle Obama’s Becoming off the top spot, where the former US First Lady’s memoir had stayed for 47 weeks.
The book also hit the paperback non-fiction charts on Nielsen BookScan, which shares data on the book publishing industry.
“[I] can’t help but be dismayed by this – the tragic circumstances in which this achievement came about,” Eddo-Lodge wrote in her tweet.
"The fact that it’s 2020 and I’m the first. Let’s be honest … the fact that it took this long is a horrible indictment of the publishing industry."
Released in 2017, the book tackles issues such as white privilege, the erasure of black history in the UK and long-standing structural racism in housing and employment.
Other anti-racism books have also climbed to the top of the non-fiction charts, including Layla Saad’s Me and White Supremacy, which placed in the top three this week.
Among the top five are Akala’s Natives, Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility and Ibram X Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist. DiAngelo’s work is currently number one on the Amazon US bestseller list, while Kendi’s is number three.
Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want to Talk About Race from 2018 holds fifth place in the US charts. In it, the American author bravely addresses difficult questions around race, particularly in the US. These include issues of police brutality, the use of the “N-word” and the mass incarceration of black people in the country.
Earlier this month, Oluo tweeted about the book’s resurgence in popularity. “I am happy people are reading my book. Truly, I am. But if you read my book and think ‘oh – now I understand racism!’ You have a lot more books to read. My book was intended as an introduction. It is a tool to help you discuss issues of racism in your workplace, your towns, your schools. But ‘how can I better talk about this’ isn’t even step 1 – it’s the beginning of your research on the way to step one.”
Updated: June 10, 2020 06:06 PM