Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race topped Nielsen BookScan’s UK top 50 in the week to 13 June, making her the first black British author to take the top slot since Nielsen began recording book sales in 2001.
The only black author to have taken the No 1 spot on the overall charts is the former US first lady Michelle Obama in 2018, with her memoir Becoming. First published in 2017, Eddo-Lodge’s award-winning book started life as a popular blog in 2014, in which she articulated why she would no longer engage with “the vast majority” of white people on the topic of race because they “refuse to accept the legitimacy of structural racism and its symptoms”.
She took to Twitter to talk about it and here is what she said:
Feels absolutely wild to have broken this record 🤯 My work stands on the shoulders of so many Black British literary giants – Bernadine Evaristo, Benjamin Zephaniah, Zadie Smith, Andrea Levy, Stella Dadzie, Stuart Hall, Linton K Johnson, Jackie Kay, Gary Younge – to name a few. https://t.co/uf2yOhSfwm
— Reni Eddo-Lodge (@renireni) June 16, 2020
Last week, Eddo-Lodge became the first black British author to be No 1 on the non-fiction paperback charts, which she called “a horrible indictment of the publishing industry. Can’t help but be dismayed by this – the tragic circumstances in which this achievement came about,” she wrote. “The fact that it’s 2020 and I’m the first.”