Anticipated Reads of 2021

Millions of books get published every year, so it can be overwhelming to try and sift through new releases and get your hands on the best up-and-coming novels. From Kazuo Ishiguro to Angie Thomas, Cassandra Clare to Jon McGregor, a whole host of beloved authors are releasing new works in 2021, and while I could talk about potential prizewinners, I am instead going to make this article about me.

I do have to return to Angie Thomas, because ‘The Hate U Give’ was one of the best books I read last year; ‘Concrete Rose’, the prequel novel that follows Starr’s father, Maverick, in his youth, is out on the 12 January. It explores Black manhood and family loyalty, and will likely be just as brilliant as its predecessor.

Anyone who’s ever asked me for a book recommendation knows that I never shut up about Natasha Pulley, and I’ll boldly claim that I’ll be the first to get my hands on her new novel ‘The Kingdoms’ in May. A novel about history and time, this newest venture in Pulley’s particular brand of magical-realist-historical-fiction holds a lot of promise. 

Max Porter, another of my highly recommended favourite authors, is releasing the anticipated ‘The Death of Francis Bacon’, his third work since his explosive debut with ‘Grief is the Thing with Feathers’ in 2017. It looks to be a poetic exploration of painter Francis Bacon’s final works.

With a “‘The Hate U Give’ meets ‘Get Out’” descriptor, ‘One of the Good Ones’ (Maika Moulite and Martiza Moulite) was released just days ago. A story about prejudice, worthiness, and power, it follows the story of Happi and Genny, two Black sisters who are unconvinced by the way their sister is idealised after her death.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t, like, understand science – however, Andy Weir writes sci-fi with a humour and clarity that I love. ‘Project Hail Mary’ is Weir’s third novel, and is a story about an astronaut on whose shoulders the future of the world sits. With a current 4.57/5 on Goodreads, I expect great things when it is finally released in May.

For anyone interested in poetry, I’ve got my eye on Jaye Simpson’s ‘it was never going to be okay’, a collection of poems on queerness, indigenous identity, and trauma, due to be released in March. Their poetry brims with brutal honesty, and the layout of their poetry on the page is a sight to behold.

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Ally Fowler

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September 2021
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The University of East Anglia’s official student newspaper. Concrete is in print and online.

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