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Everyday People: The Color of Life by Jennifer Baker

— Melissa Mesku

[I]n time when people seek to be more inclusive and representative in their writing and reading…

This week, Atria released the anthology Everyday People: The Color of Life. Edited by Jennifer Baker, the creator of the Minorities in Publishing podcast, Everyday People is more than a solid collection of short stories from writers of color. It is a collection that takes its commitment to inclusion all the way by placing the work of emerging writers alongside that of more established ones. It proved to be a wise choice, as some of the strongest stories within it are from lesser known names. Standouts include ‘Do Us Part’ by Nelly Rosario, a story whose language is as brash and formidable as its main character; ‘Wisdom,’ by Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond, which is full of a brutal and uncommon grace; and the smart, tightly-written and many-layered ‘Surrender,’ by Hasanthika Sirisena.

Of the anthology, Baker wrote, I hope that in time when people seek to be more inclusive and representative in their writing and reading that Everyday People will be that compilation reached for and sought after for the bevy of short fiction that doesn’t relegate the authors or characters to their ‘status’ as much as recognizes their skill. That skill is incontrovertible in this collection. As a literary work, it does its part to usher new names, voices and perspectives into the canon—names that, like the collection they’re contained within, belong in more hands and on more shelves, in more minds and on more lips.


Simon and Schuster