Candice Brathwaite: ‘I was hungry for books that spoke to me’

We were thrilled to welcome Sunday Times bestselling author, journalist and TV presenter Candice Brathwaite to the Women’s Prize podcast to find out about the five books that have shaped her, from Oprah Winfrey to Harper Lee. In the episode, Candice chats to host Vick Hope about the joys of meeting her literary hero, learning to step outside her ego, and why books make the ultimate fashion accessory. Don’t miss the conversation in full – listen here!

To Kill a Mockingbird

‘Shoot all the Bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a Mockingbird.’…

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‘Black British lit was very thin on the ground [when I was growing up], so I was being fed from my family’s travels to America and my American cousins … [These books] kicked the door off the innocence of the world. Because I was raised in South London in Brixton, I didn’t really understand racism – wherever I looked there were black people.’

Coldest Winter Ever

In a stunning first novel, renowned hip-hop artist, writer and activist Sister Souljah brings the streets of New York to…

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‘You could not buy this book anywhere. Sold out. Having a copy was akin to having the Moschino jeans with hearts on. At school we all carried these art folders that were see-through, and you’d prop that book up, cover out, so at the bus stop everyone knew you were that girl.’

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

The first and best-known of Maya Angelou’s extraordinary seven volumes of autobiography is a testament to the talents and resilience of…

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‘I remember reading it in secret, because the themes are really hard-hitting, and just being absolutely transformed by it … Maybe we won’t be able to meet the women that have genuinely helped us forge a path ahead, but having [Angelou’s] work to engage with is just top tier.’

What I Know For Sure

Candid, moving, exhilarating, uplifting, and frequently humorous, the words Oprah shares in What I Know For Sure shimmer with the sort of…

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‘It was one of the first books that really helped me tap into my woo-woo-ness. I’m a deeply spiritual, dream, intuition-led gal … As a woman, especially as a black woman, it’s easy for people to talk us out of that “inner voice”.’

Just Sayin’

Malorie Blackman is one of Britain’s best and most beloved children’s authors, the landmark Noughts & Crosses series included amongst…

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‘What her autobiography taught me is to stop being consumed with my age or ageing out of success … Malorie didn’t get published until her mid 30s. Her books have only just begun to be televised, and she’s in her 60s  … Taking that time doesn’t take away from the impact.’

Listen to Candice’s episode in full here. For plenty more reading inspiration from guests including Dawn O’Porter, Mother Pukka and Scarlett Curtis, have a look through the Women’s Prize podcast archives – and don’t forget to hit subscribe!

The Women's Prize Podcast

Tune into host Vick Hope and a line-up of incredible guests on our weekly podcast full of unmissable book recommendations.