We already have so much to look forward to come September: the Met Gala is back, Pyer Moss is returning to the runway, and now we have an exciting new literary offering courtesy of Michaela Coel. Coel’s first novel will be titled Misfits: A Personal Manifesto, according to Hollywood Reporter, and it “will recount deeply personal anecdotes from her life and work and will detail her journey to reclaiming creativity and power, while also pushing readers to reflect on theirs.”
Marianne Tatepo, commissioning editor at Ebury, acquired World All Language rights from Coel in an exclusive deal, according to THR, and told the entertainment website: “Ever since I first watched Chewing Gum, I knew that Michaela was one of a kind. I May Destroy You again proved this to be true, gathering fans everywhere and stealing the hearts of global icons from Adele and Seth Rogen to Barack Obama. By turns inquisitive, devastating, beautiful and hilarious, Michaela’s storytelling forever urges us to think again.”
Coel’s storytelling is one-of-a-kind and brilliant. When the 2021 Golden Globe nominations were announced in February, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s lack of recognition for Coel’s I May Destroy You, her twelve-episode series for HBO and BBC One, written and co-directed by the Coel, exploring a young women’s journey in the aftermath of remembering sexual assault was shocking. Or as the New York Times wrote in its live blog of the nominations, “a crime.” And it begs the question whose stories deserve to be told? One in six American women experience sexual assault in their lifetimes and women of colour are more likely to be assaulted than white women. The New Yorker’s Doreen St. Félix describes the show, “because Coel focuses on hustling Black women and Black queer people, I could say that the show is political, but mostly the writing steers away from didacticism.”
Perhaps if the cast of I May Destroy You resembled members of the Hollywood Foreign Press (read: whiter, higher-income) it wouldn’t be up for debate if the show was groundbreaking or not.