Toronto Book Review

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Carty-Williams Talks ‘Queenie’ With ‘Deadline’

Candice Carty-Williams, acclaimed author of the 2019 novel “Queenie,” is opening up about the hurdles she faced in bringing her beloved book to the screen. Set to be adapted by Hulu and Britain’s Channel 4, the small screen version of “Queenie” is eagerly anticipated, but Carty-Williams had to battle to ensure her original vision remained intact.

In an interview with Deadline, Carty-Williams revealed her determination to preserve the essence of her characters despite pressures to conform to certain expectations. “There was an idea of what they wanted to do with Queenie and for me, it was like, ‘What?’” she explained. “I’m never going to change my character to adapt to what a group of people are telling me someone I created years ago should do. I will always fight for my characters as though they are real people.”

“Queenie” follows the journey of a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman navigating challenges in work and love while confronting misogyny and anti-Black racism. Praised by Kirkus as “a Black Bridget Jones, perfectly of the moment,” the novel resonated deeply with readers for its authenticity and relatability.

While awaiting the debut of “Queenie” on screen, Carty-Williams has been immersed in another project—serving as the lead writer for the series “Champion,” recently released on Netflix in the United States. “Champion” tells the story of two siblings striving to kickstart their music careers in London and garnered critical acclaim upon its airing in England last summer.

Despite her success in television, Carty-Williams admits to feeling somewhat conflicted about her dual roles as a screenwriter and novelist. “As much as TV is a challenge and a learning scape, it drives me and excites me because I love how collaborative it is,” she confessed. “And books are very solitary. I’m writing another novel next and I’m dreading it.”

As she navigates the complexities of both mediums, Carty-Williams continues to captivate audiences with her storytelling prowess and unwavering dedication to authenticity. Whether on screen or in print, her voice remains a powerful force in contemporary literature.
Mark Athitakis, a journalist based in Phoenix, contributed to this report.

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