Episode 2

Joyful Black stories and turning a blog into a book with Lizzie Damilola Blackburn

Lizzie Damilola Blackburn is a British-Nigerian writer, born in Peckham, who wants to tell the stories that she and her friends have longed for but never seen. In 2019 she won the Literary Consultancy Pen Factor Writing Competition with the early draft of her debut novel, which she had been writing alongside juggling her job at Carers UK. She has been at the receiving end of the question in the title of her novel many times and now lives with her husband in Milton Keynes. Today we're chatting about her debut, Yinka, Where is your Huzband?

Our interview begins at  00:21:30

Mini book club: Magpie by Elizabeth Day

*Skip this part of the episode if you don't want any spoilers!*

Magpie is a moving contemporary novel exploring relationships between mothers and daughters. We chat a lot about our impressions of this and expectations: it sounds like a domestic noir thriller at first glance, but you'll probably feel disappointed if you go into the novel expecting that...

Note: Caitlin read a PR copy through her position at Harper Collins Publishers.

In this interview, we chat about:

  • Why Lizzie was drawn to the rom-com genre to explore serious issues and the importance of joyful Black stories
  • The pressure we feel from family and society to be in a relationship
  • How faith is included in Yinka’s story
  • Exploring colourism throughout the novel
  • Researching the therapy sessions incorporated into the story
  • How Yinka started as a short story on Lizzie’s blog and the journey to publication
  • The surprises of the editing and publishing process and how Lizzie has grown throughout it

Books and other things mentioned:

  • Louise Candlish
  • Beth O’Leary (listen to our interview)
  • The Best Man (film)
  • Brown Sugar (film)
  • Love Jones (film)
  • Story Engineering by Larry Brooks

Follow Lizzie @lizziedamiblackburn

Connect with us on Instagram: @betterwordspod

Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? is available now. Thank you to Viking for providing us with copies of the book.

About the Podcast

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Better Words

About your hosts

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Caitlin Toohey

Hi, I'm Caitlin! I've been on bookstagram since 2016, a podcaster since 2017, and worked in publishing since 2019. So books and reading are my entire life. When I'm not reading, I like listening to Taylor Swift, watching sitcoms, and generally being a theatre kid.
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Michelle Gately

Hi, I'm Michelle! I'm an Aussie living in the UK, working as a bookseller at Waterstones. I'm obsessed with storytelling in all its forms – I spend as much time watching TV or listening to podcasts as I do reading. Other hobbies include bouldering, hiking and generally obsessing about my pug Percy.