If you love books full of weird women, wild places, and wandering spirits, then I am thrilled to introduce you to Ayanna Lloyd Banwo. Set in an alternative Trinidad (“one with the volume turned up,” as Ayanna says), her debut, When We Were Birds, is the kind of story that makes you hear a suction sound when you put it down and have to pull your head out of its universe and return to ours. With an imagination as lush as her knockout prose, Ayanna does the grime and fast food of the teeming city as well as she does the echo of the first toss of dirt on the coffin, the song you hear when you are called into the sea, and the smoke coming out of your grandmother’s pipe as she tells you the story of your ancestors, women who turned into birds.
When We Were Birds has that bigness of myth that can’t be defined by genre or time, and at Doubleday we believe the same will be true of Ayanna’s literary career. Publishing a writer so distinctive and so in command of her talents is its own rare kind of magic. I can’t wait for you to turn the page and feel it, too.
With gratitude and excitement,
Senior Editor, Doubleday