The City Will Love You

By Nii Ayikwei Parkes

A collection of short stories; peeling the skin off cities to reveal the beautiful dramas within.

Monday, 5 June 2023

Somewhere Round the Corner...

My people,

If it feels like a lifetime and looks like a lifetime, then it probably is a lifetime. Yep, that’s how long it’s been since I wrote an update - so long that I don’t quite know how to start. I think I’ll start where I often start, in front of my wonderful supporters, saying thank you.

When I started this journey in 2017, my kids were all in primary school, and I thought this would all be over so soon. We didn’t know what Covid was and I only wore masks for fancy dress parties. 5+ years later, I have kids in secondary school and that transition alone took so much out of me that I barely had time to breathe. The sad thing about it is that so much of that struggle was not about my kids changing, but about what they can not change - the colour of their skin. Don’t let anyone ever make you believe that the UK does not have a racism issue anymore. In the serendipitous way the world works, I had written a piece for Vice [ This is the piece: ] on how having my Ghanaian culture had helped cushion me from the effects of racism when I was a kid just two weeks before one of my kids had an ‘incident’ at school. It took close to a year of non-stop campaigning before we managed to even get an apology. As for justice…

Let me get back to the dream of The City Will Love You. The great thing about dreams is that until you fulfill them, they stick around. I am just as committed to getting this book out into the world as I was in 2017 and I am so grateful to the team at Unbound for taking into account all my trials and continuing to support the project. The great news is, although we are about to reboot the crowdfunding campaign, we have already raised 56% of funds needed to make the book a reality. Basically, if all of us tell another friend about The City Will Love You, it will be fully funded in the time it takes to give a good hug!

And being forced to wait has not been all bad. For the last 9 months I have been a research scholar at Harvard University’s fantastic Hutchins Center, and as part of my research on connections between Africa and the African Diaspora in the new world, I was lucky to visit the Caribbean in the month of March. I feel like that visit will allow me to fill an emotional hole in The City Will Love You, which didn’t feature a Caribbean city - until now! Here are some pictures of the sky I took on my travels. 

I have never felt as surrounded by the full blue/fade/beige/other possibilities of sky as I felt on the islands of Trinidad, St Lucia, Grenada and Guadeloupe. I will definitely be back to visit my ancestral island of Jamaica soon.

And there’s more good news. I have a novel coming out this month (June 8th) with Peepal Tree Press called Azúcar and while I’m doing promotional work for the novel, I will also be talking about The City Will Love You and all of you. The Unbound team have also been brilliant and added some more support options including postcards. Seeing as those options weren't there when you, my original supporters stepped in, I have curated a Special Seven selection of photographs that I will share with you in a non-public update following this that you can download and print them if you wish. Taken in Ghent, Singapore, New York, Cairo, Valencia, Washington DC and Basse Terre, I think they are very cool and I hope you'll love them.

So, yes, it’s been a while and I am very grateful for all of you and your incredible patience. Let’s all get ready for the final push and let’s go hard. I can’t wait to share the finished book with you!


Daps & Doubles (the Trinidad kind),

Nii Ayikwei

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