When new Comics Laureate Stephen L. Holland introduced pupils at Abraham Moss Community School in Manchester to some of the many comics and graphic novels “out there” beyond those some perhaps expected, one that really grabbed their attention was What We Don’t Talk About by Charlot Kristensen.
Published by London-based Avery Hill last year, the book’s content “astonished” students, Stephen L. Holland revealed recently, and empowered them, too.
The book introduces readers to Farai, who has been in a relationship for two years and has never met her partner’s parents. Finally persuading Adam to introduce her, the visit to the in-laws turns out to be a horrible experience, and she starts to feel uneasy and ostracised.
When confronted about this experience, Adam tries to play down the situation and does not show any understanding for his partner’s concerns. Then things get a whole lot worse and Farai has to question if she can be with a man whose family does not accept her and who is not willing to face the difficulties related to an interracial relationship.
Examining contemporary issues of race, bigotry and the difficulties that interracial couples face, What We Don’t Talk About is an exciting debut from a burgeoning talent and important new voice in graphic fiction.
Charlot Kristensen is a Dublin based illustrator, designer and book author. As a Black artist, she often depicts underrepresented characters in empowering ways to help change their narratives. Some of her most renowned clients include HuffPost, Google, Penguin Random House and New York Times.
“There has been a lot of discussion about racism in the world recently, but What We Don’t Talk About shows readers that this issue is everywhere and it is insidious,” noted Louis Skye in a review for Wuh-Whack. “When we see Black people being killed by police, it’s not an incident that comes out of nowhere. It’s been bred into non-Black communities – even in some POC – for generations. As author Charlot Kristensen points out through Farai’s inner monologue in this book, racism isn’t obvious only in slurs and murder—it’s in every facet of life..
“… Despite being set in the UK, What We Don’t Talk About is relevant to any country that is home to multiple ethnicities and has a history of discrimination against minority communities.”
“What We Don’t Talk About is one of the key UK indie releases of 2020,” noted Andy Oliver in his review on Broken Frontier, having already promoted Charlot as a creator to watch. “Avery Hill have described Kristensen as ‘a burgeoning talent devoted to representation and empowering women of colour.’
“That was no hyperbole,” he feels. “This is undoubtedly a breakout book from a major new emerging voice that is relevant, thought-provoking and brimming with pure comics craft.”
• What We Don’t Talk About by Charlot Kristensen, published by Avery Hill Publishing, is available to buy direct from the publishers here| – or order it from your local book shop or online retailers, ISBN 978-1910395554 – including AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.