Knights Of has launched its biggest ever campaign to back Candice Carty-Williams' debut YA novella, which publishes today (7th October).
The inclusive children's publisher has collaborated with agency ed public relations and freelance marketer Ella Chapman, to launch a host of events for Empress & Aniya.
The campaign will be headlined by an in-conversation event with Carty-Williams and award-winning singer Jameila, held on 11th October at the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton. It will be supported by City Hall’s Peer Outreach team, with free tickets offered to disadvantaged young people from across the city. Additional free tickets are available from the Black Ticket Project with all other ticket and book sales co-ordinated by Round Table Books.
The campaign has been devised to centre young Black girls, specifically those living in the communities in south London where both Carty-Williams and Knights Of are based. Commenting on the ethos of the campaign, Aimée Felone and Eishar Brar, co-editors of the book, said: “It was vital to us to centre Black teenage girls in this campaign, and we are so excited that we’ve achieved this with a deliberate and considered campaign, by working with ed PR and Ella Chapman. Reaching readers where they are has always been a key part of KO’s strategy, and it’s been a total joy to bring Candice, and Empress & Aniya, to those readers.”
Carty-Williams will donate her advance to the Brixton-based charity Milk Honey Bees, which has collaborated on an outdoor advertising campaign celebrating female friendship.
A selection of banners photographed by Aashfaria Anwar, featuring 13 girls from Milk Honey Bees aged 12+, and charity founder Ebinehita Iyere with Carty-Williams will be installed in Brixton Village from 11th October, coinciding with International Day of the Girl. Additional banners designed by Marssaié, creative director at Knights Of, will showcase the book’s cover artwork with quotes.
Iyere said: “We are so excited to be a part of a campaign that reflects everything we stand for. It’s a reminder of the importance of the friendships that the girls have, with each other and themselves, plus the strength of sisterhood.”
The author will also visit Round Table Books, the inclusion-led bookshop launched and owned by Knights Of, based in Brixton Village, to sign copies of Empress & Aniya today.
A media campaign kicked off with broadcast interviews during publication week on BBC Radio 4’s "Front Row," BBC Radio "5 Live" with Nihal Arthanayake, BBC Radio London’s "The Scene", and "Sky News". The first print interview ran in the Times, and will be followed by the i, with online interviews scheduled in Cosmopolitan, Bad Form Review, and Stylist Loves, among others. A further flagship event featuring the author in conversation with Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff will take place on 23rd October as part of the Southbank’s London Literature Festival.
Carty-Williams' debut novel Queenie (Trapeze) won Book of the Year at the British Book Awards in 2020. It was longlisted for the Women’s Prize, and was shortlisted for the Waterstones, Foyles and Goodreads book of the year in 2019, as well as being selected as Blackwell’s Debut of the Year.
Commenting on the campaign, she said: “It’s been a total joy to see such a fulsome and meaningful campaign be borne from a story I wrote, and one I wrote about a topic very close to me. This campaign will reach the readers I’ve written for, and beyond, and that really is all an author can ask for!”