The Other Black Girl
Poets & Writers Magazine|July - August 2021
Zakiya Dalila Harris introduced by Maurice Carlos Ruffin
By Zakiya Dalila

Zakiya Dalila Harris whose debut novel, The Other Black Girl, was published in June by Atria Books.

INTRODUCED BY

Maurice Carlos Ruffin author of two books, including the story collection The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You, forthcoming in August from One World.

We come to books for the experience of reading stories that reflect our lives and enlarge our understanding of the world. Reading Zakiya Dalila Harris’s The Other Black Girl was a double enjoyment for me. I felt the pleasure of her craft: the clear, tense prose that unfurled a plot about a young woman trying to make her way in publishing. I also felt the pleasure of being seen. I know what it is like to work in the corporate realm with all the office politics, the manipulations, the microaggressions. To see those details laid out with such precision made me feel less crazy. My situation wasn’t a one-off. A talented writer like Harris could help me contextualize experiences that I had deep feelings about but hadn’t been able to explain.

I read so much of The Other Black Girl while holding my breath. There’s a huge amount happening beneath the surface. One of the areas the book explores is gaslighting, that unique form of psychological abuse we’ve all become so familiar with. What made you want to delve into this topic?

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