The Other Black Girl: A Novel (Hardcover)
Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2021 by Time, The Washington Post, Harper’s Bazaar, Entertainment Weekly, Marie Claire, Bustle, BuzzFeed, Parade, Goodreads, Fortune, and BBC
“Riveting, fearless, and vividly original.” —Emily St. John Mandel, New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Hotel
“A brilliant combustion of suspense, horror, and social commentary that leaves no assumption unchallenged and no page unturned.” —Walter Mosley, internationally bestselling author of Devil in a Blue Dress
Urgent, propulsive, and sharp as a knife, The Other Black Girl is an electric debut about the tension that unfurls when two young Black women meet against the starkly white backdrop of New York City book publishing.
Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust.
Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW.
It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realizes that there’s a lot more at stake than just her career.
A whip-smart and dynamic thriller and sly social commentary that is perfect for anyone who has ever felt manipulated, threatened, or overlooked in the workplace, The Other Black Girl will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last twist.
About the Author
Zakiya Dalila Harris spent nearly three years in editorial at Knopf/Doubleday before leaving to write her debut novel The Other Black Girl. Prior to working in publishing, Zakiya received her MFA in creative writing from The New School. Her essays and book reviews have appeared in Guernica and The Rumpus. She lives in Brooklyn.
“Filled with twists both unsettling and unexpected . . . such a timely read.”
“A thrilling, edgier Devil Wears Prada that explores privilege and racism.”
— Washington Post
“[A] buzzy debut set in publishing that explores race and class in the workplace.”
— The Guardian
"A whip-smart and dynamic thriller and sly social commentary . . . will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last twist."
— The Rumpus
“A sly satire and thriller rolled into one.”
“A brilliant, twisty, and highly relevant thriller…Perfect for fans of Alyssa Cole’s When No One Is Watching, or Amina Akhtar’s #FashionVictim.”
— Lit Hub
“A big-buzzing, thriller-edged literary debut.”
— Library Journal
“While the plot takes a darker turn into thriller territory, this read is ideal for anyone who has ever felt manipulated, threatened, or dismissed in the workplace.”
“A dazzling, darkly humorous story…the novel overflows with witty dialogue and skillfully drawn characters, its biggest strength lies in its penetrating critique of gatekeeping in the publishing industry and the deleterious effects it can have on Black editors. This insightful, spellbinding book packs a heavy punch.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred)
"A can't-miss title for 2021."
— Harper's Bazaar
"We’re going to hear a lot about this book for years to come, and I can’t wait."
“Witty, inventive, and smart, The Other Black Girl goes deeper to take on class privilege, race, and gender in a narrative that slyly plays along the edges of convention. Zakiya Dalila Harris’s debut is a brilliant combustion of suspense, horror, and social commentary that leaves no assumption unchallenged and no page unturned.”
— WALTER MOSLEY, internationally bestselling author of Devil in a Blue Dress
"OMG, as the kids say. This is the funniest, wildest, deepest, most thought-provoking ride of a book. I have been Nella. Every black woman has been Nella. Zakiya Dalila Harris has pulled back the curtain on the publishing industry, but in doing so, she has also perfectly captured a social dynamic that exists in job cultures as varied as tech, finance, academia, even retail and fast food. Oh, beware of the 'OBGs'—Other Black Girls—y’all. As we should all be aware of the psychic cost to black women of making ourselves palatable to institutions that use our cultural cache for their own ends while disregarding any part of our hearts and minds that they either can’t or won’t understand."
— ATTICA LOCKE, New York Times bestselling author of Heaven, My Home
“Riveting, fearless, and vividly original. This is an exciting debut.”
— EMILY ST. JOHN MANDEL, New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Hotel
“An intimate and specific look at the joys and pains of being a Black woman, especially one working in a majority-white industry... The Other Black Girl is hysterical, intimate, and warm—and bristling with dread. Every page pulls you deeper into the nightmare, coiling tighter and tighter until before you know it, there's no escape.”
— ELISABETH THOMAS, author of Catherine House
“This thriller will be one you won't be able to put down.”
— Today Show
“The Other Black Girl is unlike anything I've ever read before. Wholly original, powerful, and a gripping page turner. This is the kind of book that turns authors into stars and the readers into rabid fans. I cannot wait to see what Zakiya does next.”
— PHOEBE ROBINSON, bestselling author of You Can't Touch My Hair
“The Other Black Girl is a brilliant, witty, thought-provoking book readers will find hard to put down. Full of twists, Harris has delivered a riveting account of the power dynamics Black women must navigate.”
— MAURICE CARLOS RUFFIN, author of We Cast a Shadow
"Electrifying and ingenious, Zakiya Dalila Harris's The Other Black Girl is essential reading!"
— TERRY MCMILLAN, New York Times bestselling author of It's Not All Downhill From Here
“Wise and funny and it does what the best books do—it opens up a whole world of two young Black women in the very white world of publishing, making the narrative both eye-opening social commentary and a delicious thriller. A mega-talented new author who deserves all the buzz building for her now—and every accolade she is surely going to get.”
— CAROLINE LEAVITT, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You and With or Without You
“A psychological thriller for the modern-day working girl . . . filled with suspenseful twists and turns.”
"Racist behavior in the workplace, white colleagues’ awkward attempts to pretend it doesn’t exist, and the exhaustion of being Black in white spaces are all encapsulated in a pitch-perfect way by Harris . . . this compelling debut thriller will be in demand; a must for public libraries."
— Booklist (starred)
"Slyly brilliant . . . a nuanced page-turner, as sharp as it is fun. A biting social satire–cum-thriller; dark, playful, and brimming with life."
— Kirkus Reviews (starred)
"I tore through Zakiya Dalila Harris's The Other Black Girl, a hilarious yet spine-chilling send-up of the whiteness of the publishing world, with my jaw on the floor. Its detailed dissection of the complex forces that curtail Black ambition is by turns tender and utterly lacerating, combining the nuance of a Kiley Reid with the twisted gut-punches of Bamboozled. It draws you in with a laugh and a smile, then shoves you into a nightmare you won't be able to shake off. A simply brilliant debut."
— AMY GENTRY, bestselling author of Good as Gone, Last Woman Standing, and Bad Habits
"This twisty thriller will resonate with anyone who has struggled to find her voice as the only Black woman in the room."
“[A] brilliant debut …The novel takes some bold stylistic risks that pay off beautifully, leaving the reader longing for more of Harris's words and unique view on the world.”
"This book is the perfect mixture of of edge-of-your-seat thrills and biting social commentary that will get readers talking."
“Very, very sharp social commentary about racial tension and bias…my money’s on it being the ‘it’ book of the summer.”
— Deputy Editor of The New York Times Book Review Tina Jordan on WNYC’s All of It
“Brilliantly positioned at the intersection of satire and social horror, The Other Black Girl incorporates subversively sharp and sly cultural commentary into an addictive and surprisingly dark tale of suspense. Harris displays a distinctive style all her own….a flair for metaphor and a carefully calibrated surrealist perspective. Thoughtful, provocative and viscerally entertaining, The Other Black Girl is a genre-bending creative triumph.”
— BookPage (starred)