Queenie (novel)

Queenie is a new adult novel written by British author Candice Carty-Williams and published by Orion in 2019. The novel is about the life and loves of Queenie Jenkins, a vibrant, troubled 25-year-old British-Jamaican woman who is not having a very good year.[1]

AuthorCandice Carty-Williams
CountryUnited Kingdom
GenreNew adult fiction
Publication date
19 March 2019
Media typePrint (hardcover and paperback), audiobook, e-book
Pages330 (hardcover)


In 2017 Queenie was the subject of an auction between four publishers and was eventually acquired for a six-figure sum by Orion.[2] Although it was marketed as "a black Bridget Jones",[3][4][5] Carty-Williams herself said in an interview in Stylist magazine: "That's how I thought of her in the beginning, too. But this book is also naturally political just because of who Queenie is. She's not Bridget Jones. She could never be."[6] Speaking on CBS Local, Carty-Williams further explained: "It's such a personal story, but it is one that is universal as well....It's not autobiographical, but it’s themes that I've borrowed from my life and my friends' lives."[7]


Queenie received much positive critical attention,[8] described by reviewers as both a "smart and breezy comic debut"[9] and "astutely political, an essential commentary on everyday racism"[10] According to Diana Evans, Queenie is an "important political tome of black womanhood and black British life, a rare perspective from the margins",[4] and Afua Hirsch wrote in Time magazine: "Carty-Williams has taken a black woman’s story and made it a story of the age".[3] On the paperback publication of Queenie in February 2020, Kate Saunders wrote in The Times: "This is a funny, clever, heartbreaking lightning bolt of a first novel, by a writer bristling with talent."[11]

As of 2021, according to Nielsen BookScan UK, the novel has sold 153,439 copies; 34,936 copies in hardback and 115,317 copies in paperback.[12] Queenie entered the Sunday Times Bestseller hardback chart at number two,[13] went on to win the Blackwell's Debut Book of the Year 2019 award[14] and was shortlisted as Book of the Year by Waterstones,[15] Foyles and Goodreads,[16] as well as being runner-up for the Costa First Novel Award.[17][18][19] At the British Book Awards in June 2020 Queenie won the Book of the Year category,[20] while Bernardine Evaristo was chosen as Author of the Year, making them the first black authors to win the top prizes.[21] Carty-Williams commented that while she was proud to have won the accolade, "I'm also sad and confused that I'm the first black AND female author to have won this award since it began."[22] She also stated: "Overall, this win makes me hopeful that although I'm the first, the industry are waking up to the fact that I shouldn't and won't be the last."[23] Queenie was selected for the longlist for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2020.[24] In September 2020 the novel was runner-up in the Comedy Women in Print Prize (CWIP).[25][26]


A TV adaptation of Queenie has been announced as being in development for Channel 4,[27] with Carty-Williams as the screenwriter.[28] In August 2021, it was reported that the channel had commissioned an eight-episode drama series, with production starting in 2022.[29]


  1. ^ "Queenie". Kirkus Reviews. 12 November 2018.
  2. ^ Cowdrey, Katherine (29 September 2017). "Carty-Williams' debut Queenie lands six-figure deal". The Bookseller.
  3. ^ a b Hirsch, Afua (19 March 2019). "Don't Call Queenie a 'Black Bridget Jones.' This Book Is So Much More". Time.
  4. ^ a b Evans, Diana (12 April 2020). "Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams review – timely and important". The Guardian.
  5. ^ Butter, Susannah (25 April 2019). "Candice Carty-Williams: it's high time black women had a voice". Evening Standard.
  6. ^ Keegan, Hannah (3 April 2019). "Candice Carty Williams explains why Queenie will never be a 'black Bridget Jones'". Stylist.
  7. ^ "'Getting This Out Was Catharsis': Author Candice Carty-Williams On Book 'Queenie'", CBS Local, 25 November 2019.
  8. ^ Lloyd, Rachel (17 May 2019), "All you need to know about “Queenie” by Candice Carty-Williams", 1843.
  9. ^ Cummins, Anthony (16 April 2019), "Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams review – a smart and breezy debut", The Observer.
  10. ^ Malicka, Philly (17 July 2919), "Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, review: ‘An essential commentary on everyday racism'", The Telegraph.
  11. ^ Saunders, Kate (8 February 2020), "Our pick of the latest paperbacks, February 8, 2020", The Times.
  12. ^ Comerford, Ruth (16 March 2021). "Knights Of to publish YA novella from Candice Carty-Williams". The Bookseller. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  13. ^ Wood, Heloise (13 June 2019). "Candice Carty-Williams leaves Vintage". The Bookseller.
  14. ^ "WINNER Debut Author of the Year". YouTube. Blackwell's Bookshops. 8 November 2019. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  15. ^ Sherwin, Adam (30 October 2019). "Queenie: 'Black Bridget Jones' competes with Margaret Atwood for Waterstones Book of the Year 2019". i.
  16. ^ GNM Press Office (7 January 2020). "Candice Carty-Williams to become the Guardian's new books columnist". The Guardian.
  17. ^ Flood, Alison (26 November 2019). "Debut author of Queenie caps success with Costa prize shortlisting". The Guardian.
  18. ^ Hampson, Laura (27 November 2019). "The Costa Book Awards shortlist for 2019 has been announced". Evening Standard.
  19. ^ Broster, Alice (7 January 2020). "Debut Writers Win Big In 2019 Costa Book Award".
  20. ^ "The British Book Awards – A History". The Bookseller.
  21. ^ Flood, Alison (2020-06-30). "Evaristo and Carty-Williams become first black authors to win top British Book awards". The Guardian.
  22. ^ "Queenie author Candice Carty-Williams wins British Book Award". BBC News. 30 June 2020.
  23. ^ White, Adam (30 June 2020). "British Book Awards: Candice Carty-Williams becomes first black British author to win Book of the Year prize". The Independent.
  24. ^ Flood, Alison (3 March 2020). "Women's prize for fiction lines up 'heavy hitters' on 2020 longlist". The Guardian.
  25. ^ Fitzmaurice, Rosie (14 September 2020). "Comedy Women in Print Prize 2020 winners announced". Evening Standard.
  26. ^ Katherine Cowdrey (14 September 2020). "Stibbe, Jones and Simmonds named CWIP winners". The Bookseller.
  27. ^ Broster, Alice (18 November 2019). "What You Need To Know About Candice Carty-Williams' 'Queenie' Being Adapted For Channel 4". Bustle. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  28. ^ Carty-Williams, Candice (5 September 2020). "I won't let Covid-19 infect my television adaptation of Queenie". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
  29. ^ Bayley, Sian (24 August 2021). "Carty-Williams to create Queenie drama series for Channel 4". The Bookseller. Retrieved 25 August 2021.