We are delighted to announce that the highly-anticipated debut Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson is now published in North America (Penguin Random House). This sweeping multi-generational story, about two estranged siblings who must set aside their differences to deal with the consequences of their mother’s hidden past centered around a traditional Caribbean cake, captured our hearts from the very first page. We are over the moon to reveal that Black Cake is the Read with Jenna Book Club Pick for February.
Buzz has been building in the run-up to this highly anticipated debut – most recently, Black Cake was featured in the New York Times round up of ‘12 New Books Coming in February‘. The spellbinding debut was also featured in Bookriot’s list of ‘new books to read in 2022‘, The Daily Star’s ‘new books by favourite authors in the first quarter of 2022‘, and the Vogue called it ‘powerful novel’‘. Charmaine herself recently penned a beautiful essay on how a family recipe inspired her debut novel, which you can read here.
North American rights were acquired in a major nine-way publishing auction, and Kapital Entertainment optioned the TV Rights with Handmaid’s Tale and Women of the Movement writer Marissa Jo Cerar attached to adapt and serve as showrunner. After a heated bidding war between streamers, it was given a straight to series order by Hulu and will be executive produced by Cerar, Harpo Films’ Oprah Winfrey and Carla Gardini and Kapital Entertainment’s Aaron Kaplan.
To celebrate the launch of Black Cake, Charmaine will be joined by New York Times bestselling author Taylor Jenkins Reid in a discussion hosted by the Center for Fiction, presented in partnership with the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival. Early reviews of Black Cake have been truly glowing with a New York Times Book review published today. Further endorsements include:
‘At turns delightfully juicy and then stunningly wise, Black Cake is a winner.’ Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Malibu Rising
Black Cake is a character-driven, multigenerational story that’s meant to be savored. . . . thought-provoking and poignant.” Time
‘The scenes are so well drawn I could almost taste the cake. My heart broke and was put back together. Bravo.’ Nikki May, author of Wahala
‘An extremely assured debut which pulls in threads and echoes from across the Caribbean diaspora to deliver a rich, complex and really satisfying novel.’ Alison Finch, BBC Radio 4
‘Fans of family dramas by Ann Patchett, Brit Bennett, and Karen Joy Fowler should take note. Black Cake marks the launch of a writer to watch, one who masterfully plumbs the unexpected depths of the human heart.’ BookPage (starred review)
‘Wilkerson uses one Caribbean American family’s extraordinary tale to probe universal issues of identity and how the lives we live and the choices we make leave ‘a trail of potential consequences’ that pass down through generations.’ Booklist (starred review)
We can’t choose what we inherit. But can we choose who we become?
Charmaine Wilkerson’s debut novel is a story of how the inheritance of betrayals, secrets, memories, and even names, can shape relationships and history. Deeply evocative and beautifully written, Black Cake is an extraordinary journey through the life of a family changed forever by the choices of its matriarch.
A huge congratulations Charmaine, on this very special day! And if you have not picked up a copy of this book yourself, you can do so here. Or, if you are based in the UK, you can pre-order a special signed edition here.