Tom Penn, publishing director at Penguin Press, has acquired Rebel Citizen: A History of Black Women Living, Loving and Resisting by feminist historian Jade Bentil.
Penn bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Emma Paterson at Aitken Alexander Associates in a nine-way auction.
The book is described as “the first intimate history of black women's lives in Britain in the post-war years, inspired by, and drawing on, the author's own family legacy” and will be published on the Allen Lane list in 2021.
Tom Penn said: "Jade Bentil is a brilliant, radical new voice, and we couldn't be more proud and excited to welcome her to Allen Lane. Rebel Citizen is an astonishing proposal for what will be an intimate, moving and profoundly important piece of oral history: one that recovers the story of black women's lives at the margins of British society, where they started to carve out rule-breaking modes of living. In doing so, Jade presents nothing less than a completely new portrait of Britain. It's the first, extraordinary statement by a scholar with an exceptional and thrilling future ahead of her."
Bentil is a black feminist historian championed by Roxane Gay, who in 2018 said that she believes Bentil will become one of the most prominent global voices on black feminism in the next two years. Her scholarship uses oral history methodology to centre the experiences of women of African and African-Caribbean descent. She recently won scholarships to develop her research at doctoral level at Oxford, Cambridge, UCL and Nottingham.
Bentil said: “I'm absolutely thrilled to be joining the incredible list of writers at Allen Lane. Rebel Citizen is about the many lives of black women in Britain that we are rarely encouraged to engage with in public discourse and I'm incredibly excited to be working with Tom to bring this work into being.”