Bernardine Evaristo, Richard Osman and Bimini Bon Boulash were among the line-up of 15 authors at the virtual Penguin General 2021 Autumn Showcase on Tuesday night (1st June), celebrating the power of booksellers.
The theme of the evening was "bookshops are now open" and authors spoke from a number of stores including Gay's The Word and Barnes Bookshop in London.
Osman opened the showcase by discussing his next book The Man Who Died Twice (Viking), the sequel to bestseller The Thursday Murder Club, which will be published 16th September.
He told viewers "it’s going to be a joy to read" and encouraged them to return to bookshops. "A rising tide raises all ships and the more people we get through the doors and into bookshops the better, the more people we get into reading the better, the more people we get, from my perspective, into crime fiction as well, the better," he said.
Booker Prize winner Evaristo spoke about her "intimate and confessional" memoir Manifesto: On Never Giving Up (Hamish Hamilton), which will be published on 7th October.
"The reason I wrote this book is because I just wanted to examine the life I’ve led, the decisions I’ve made that have brought me to this point as a writer. I graduated from drama school in 1982, so I’ve been an artist for 40 years and it’s only in the last 18 months that I’ve broken through on to the main stage," she said.
She said her book was also about "rebellion from the mainstream" and included discussions on race, gender, class, sexuality and ageing.
Bimini Bom Boulash, a drag queen best known for competing on the second series of "RuPaul's Drag Race UK", spoke about identity when discussing their new book Release the Beast (Viking), which will be published on 14th October. "I hope it can open up the minds of the readers and also younger queer kids that are experiencing identity struggles and kind of issues maybe with their gender and how they feel inside," Bimini said.
"It’s a serious topic, finding the humour in something like that is a powerful way to deal with it," they added.
Identity, equality and gender were key themes in the other books in the showcase, which also included a conversation with Rafia Zakaria, author of Against White Feminism (Hamish Hamilton), which will be published on 9th September.
Elsewhere on the bill Qian Julie Wang spoke about her book Beautiful Country (Viking), which will be published on 30th September and explores her years living with undocumented status in Brooklyn, America, while feminist pioneer and tennis star Billie Jean King said she will be releasing her long-awaited autobiography All In (Viking) on 17th August.
Lydia Yadi, commissioning editor at Penguin, said: "Here at Penguin General we aim to publish great books that can be picked up and enjoyed by everyone. Our many readers like our authors stretch from around the globe and what unites both is an intelligent curiosity of the world around us as well as a love of great storytelling."
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