Synopses & Reviews
Named one of the most anticipated books of the year by Bitch Magazine and Parade.
From a fierce and humorous new voice comes a relevant, insightful, and riveting collection of personal essays on the richness and resilience of black girl culture — for readers of Samantha Irby, Roxane Gay, Morgan Jerkins, and Lindy West.
Shayla Lawson is major. You don't know who she is. Yet. But that's okay. She is on a mission to move black girls like herself from best supporting actress to a starring role in the major narrative. Whether she's taking on workplace microaggressions or upending racist stereotypes about her home state of Kentucky, she looks for the side of the story that isn't always told, the places where the voices of black girls haven't been heard.
The essays in This is Major ask questions like: Why are black women invisible to AI? What is "black girl magic"? Or: Am I one viral tweet away from becoming Twitter famous? And: How much magic does it take to land a Tinder date?
With a unique mix of personal stories, pop culture observations, and insights into politics and history, Lawson sheds light on these questions, as well as the many ways black women and girls have influenced mainstream culture — from their style, to their language, and even their art — and how "major" they really are.
Timely, enlightening, and wickedly sharp, This Is Major places black women at the center — no longer silenced, no longer the minority.
“[Lawson] does not tear through slices of black contemporary womanhood so much as she meanders through them, stopping to smell Black girls' roses and to catalog our thorns. It is a careful yet carefree collection.” Tressie McMillan Cottom, National Book Award-nominated author of Thick and Lower Ed
"Whip smart, singular, and endlessly fascinating,...the kind of calling card every author dreams of writing, but not many are able to achieve. I cannot wait to see what she does next!" Phoebe Robinson, New York Times bestselling author of You Can’t Touch My Hair and Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay
“With a poet’s precision and with a brand of candor and urgency known to us only as Lawson-esque, these essays mark a pivotal expansion in a poet’s bold breach of new ground.” Ocean Vuong
“It is Lawson’s love letter to herself and every other Black woman who may have felt invisible or misunderstood....the totality and the essence of Black women are front and center here.” Booklist (Starred Review)
"With this collection, Shayla Lawson delivers the goods on patriarchy, white supremacy and contemporary culture with wit, candor and clarity. Part memoir, part criticism, part history, this volume is brave, fresh and reflective." Ms. Magazine
About the Author
Shayla Lawson grew up in Lexington, Kentucky. She is a professor at Amherst College and lives in Brooklyn, New York.