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Fiction Contemporary Women

Shut Up You're Pretty

by (author) Tea Mutonji

Arsenal Pulp Press
Initial publish date
Jun 2019
Contemporary Women, Contemporary Women, Short Stories (single author), Lesbian
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2019
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jun 2019
    List Price

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--Shut Up You’re Pretty by Téa Mutonji is the first book to be published by VS. Books, Arsenal’s series dedicated to new and emerging writers of color (under the age of 30). The series is curated and edited by writer-musician Vivek Shraya, author of 4 previous Arsenal titles (including The Boy & the Bindi and even this page is white) as well as the comic Death Threat, also publishing this season.

--Téa Mutonji is a 23-year-old writer of Congalese descent based in Ontario. She was chosen to launch the VS. Books series for her disarming story collection in which she disrupts traditional white female tropes common in contemporary short fiction; her stories feature the same nameless Congalese American narrator, but Mutonji doesn’t center or foreground her narrator’s race. In this way, her stories “normalize” the traditional American short story that happen to feature a Black female protagonist.

--In Téa’s own words: “The itch to write this book particularly came from reading Miranda July’s Nobody Belongs Here More Than You (2005). Though I enjoyed it, I couldn’t help but feel this great disconnect between myself and the characters. (Who’s to say that level of connectivity is what really makes a story a great story anyways?) But strangely enough, this disconnect came from the fact the collection seemed to be made up of the same story over and over again, just with different titles. It was also underwhelming that there were no characters of color. I think the need to have characters of color, and specifically women of color, as characters who are as multidimensional, complex, and annoying as any other character is what really made me want to explore stories through a perspective that may look more like mine. Character visibility is what drives this collection. I keep reading Bridget Jones-esque fiction, and none of these women resemble me. I was interested in writing stories through the eyes of a Black woman without centering her race: to make young, female, Black characters as ‘normal’ as the kind of white, cisgendered female protagonists who seem to feature in every epic coming-of-age narrative.”

--We will promote Téa as an exciting new and young writer of color in conjunction with the debut of the VS. Books series.

About the author

Téa Mutonji is a writer and poet. She has been awarded and published by The Scarborough Fair Magazine in fiction and nonfiction and by the Ontario Book Publishers Organization as a Scarborough Emerging Writer in the 2017 ''What's Your Story?'' contest. She is currently finishing her minor in Creative Writing. Shut Up You're Pretty is her first book.

Tea Mutonji's profile page

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