Black Girls Deserve Love Stories, Too

Six Black authors join forces to tell stories of Black love, not pain

Jolie A. Doggett
ZORA
Published in
6 min readJun 21, 2021

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‘Blackout’ co-authors. Photo illustration: Qadir El-Amin; sources: Imani Khayyam, Cassidy Chin, Amir Lowery, Nigel Livingstone, Sonya Sones, and Andrew Fennell

Six bestselling Black women authors have joined forces to co-author a new love story that’s sure to have us feelin’ the heat this summer.

Bestselling authors Angie Thomas, Nicola Yoon, Dhonielle Clayton, Nic Stone, Ashley Woodfolk, and Tiffany D. Jackson came together to write Blackout, a new young adult novel about a fictional blackout that plunges New York City into darkness. But sparks still manage to fly between several young Black characters trying to navigate the city and their own love lives through the dark.

What makes Blackout truly unique isn’t just the collaboration between some of the biggest names in the book world. Blackout is groundbreaking because it’s changing the mold of what’s expected of Black stories. Joy takes center stage in this novel—not trauma, drama, and racism. The book itself is a love letter to Black folks of all ages.

ZORA spoke with two of Blackout’s co-authors, Nic Stone and Ashley Woodfolk, about how this tremendous literary project came to life, how they’re pushing back against publishing industry expectation, and why stories about Black love can bring some much-needed light into all of our lives (even in a blackout).

Quotes have been edited for length and clarity.

Where are all the Black love stories?

‘Blackout’ is the brainchild of bestselling author Dhonielle Clayton. Photo: Amir Lowery

While the novel takes place in the summertime, the story behind Blackout actually begins in winter 2019. Dhonielle Clayton (author of the bestselling series turned TV show Tiny Pretty Things) and her niece had been binging holiday-themed rom coms and teen movies. It was a cute, fun way to spend a pandemic winter, but there was one thing missing: Where were the love stories about Black people?

So Clayton called up five friends and fellow bestselling authors to find a creative solution.

“Dhonielle is a plot master, [and] she came up with this idea for us to write this co-authored novel,” said Nic Stone, bestselling author…

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Jolie A. Doggett
ZORA
Writer for

writer | editor | reader | podcaster | people person | (i used to work here ☺️)