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Candice Carter’s Queenie is one of her most important works of fiction. This book bookmarked her debut in her writing career. Candice moved from working at the Guardian to publishing at the age of 23. Candice has also worked in the marketing of literary works. Her interview with David Cronberg, a Canadian film director, screenwriter, and actor known for the horror films he explores, was the first highlight in her career path. Candice has participated in trying to align the issue of underrepresentation of BAME authors; her role was in creating a BAME short story prize in 4th estate where she is working due to underrepresentation of BAME authors, BAME stands for Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic Candice never thought she would become an author. Still, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity came up when she worked on her manuscript at Jojo Moyes’ cottage. Jojo Moyes is an English journalist, romance novelist, and screenwriter. All these associations provided her with the inspiration to write the book, Queenie at that time.

Queenie is a tale of a black woman doing online dating and generally making her way in the world. Bridget Jones’s diary inspired her story. In many ways, the works are similar, with only differences in culture and race. Queenie, the main character in the book, was in comparison to Bridget Jones’s character. She is seen as not perfect, to which she saw that it was okay not to be perfect; thus, Queenie came to be. Queenie is a book based on a young black working adult. Her writing comes when Black lives matter in writing from a black girl’s point of view. In her working experience, she gets to be friends with one of her workmates, highlighting her working days as she goes over almost all her dating experience with her friend Darcy. Her life seems to be breaking apart when she breaks up with her boyfriend who she has been in a relationship for three years. Her life spirals out of control as she stops working the way she used to be reprimanded by her boss for not finishing up on her work. Her questionable decisions in sexual encounters are put into light with the different men and also abusive ways that her relationship is. She sees this as alright in her eyes, but in her friends, her decisions are questionable. Her mental health also seems to be failing her. The book is also based on Candice’s dating life when she brings in this black girl who goes onto dating apps and her almost bad experiences. In this novel, the book delves into the life of a black working girl in British society, and one of the significant matters projected is that black lives matter.

Events, be it social, political, and religious, influence Queenie as a book. Politics and social events overlap mostly and are connected. Black lives matter is both a political and social movement. In 2019 and 2020, the movement grew extremely popular worldwide, even in the United Kingdom. In 2019 and 2020, the campaign has become more prevalent following previous years, such as in 2012, police killed an American teen while he was walking home to a convenience store. This led to protests, and the black lives matter movement was formed in 2013. There were many controversies based on the black lives matter when in demonstrations; a policeman was killed, leading to the tag blue lives matter in America. In 2014, the shooting of two African Americans following the protests over racial discrimination and police brutality. The social impacts following police brutality are portrayed in this novel. This serves important as some parts of the book deal with the issues of police brutality.

An example is when Kyazike forces Queenie to go on a protest to protest over the killing of black people by police. In trying to stand for his beliefs, Queenie goes to her boss to tell her to involve Black lives in the article. This doesn’t get the attention, but when she says that the white people who are e themselves liberalists in their place of work don’t even take part in the protest, this gets her attention. She is told to pitch her idea in the next meeting, but she is met with resistance by a certain man who insists that all lives matter. Her counterargument is that she is not advocating that other lives don’t matter, but the police brutality is what is bringing in the protests on the black lives movement. Her arguments, however, are futile, and she gets discouraged by them. One of her online dates that she meets also is against the type of black girls that are in the movement Black lives matter. Religious leaders have also come out to condemn the police brutality and the racial discrimination being experienced.

In the year 2019, some statistics on domestic abuse characteristics studies done in England and Wales indicate black women engaged in interracial relationships are more prone to domestic violence. Following the black lives matter movement, it is highlighted that people from these minority ethnic groups experience inequality. In relationships, they are more prone to violence; in the years between 2018 and 2019, the rates of domestic violence increased significantly. In the novel, the main character engages in a sexual encounter that is violent as when she goes to a health clinic, the doctors and nurses are surprised when she goes for a gynecologist test as she has tears due to the rough sexual encounter she had. The nurse asks her questions concerning her sexual history and asks her if she had been assaulted or being pimped out by her spouse as a prostitute. Queenie’s state of mental health is brought to question as she disagrees with the nurse’s thought and tells her that it was consensual.

In the 21st century, there has been a lot of racial bias based on everyday life. Blacks are seen to face racial discrimination in almost all areas and even pertaining to work. Blacks face an enormous disadvantage in terms of promotion in workplaces. There is discrimination in Queenie’s workplace as she is accused falsely by one of her workmates in terms of harassment. Queenie is suspended indefinitely without investigation due to the malice of a fellow workmate. Queenie has to move out of her place for lack of a job into her grandparent’s place. Upon investigation, it is seen that Queenie was accused wrongly, and later on, Ted is fired as it is seen that he is the one that is harassing her. There is also racial discrimination not only in workplaces but places such as restaurants. When they go clubbing, Queenie and her friend Kyazike feel out of place due to being the only black woman there. Queenie feels violated when one of the women in the club touches her hair, and she tells her that she does not want to be touched. Queenie and her friend are thrown out of the club despite them not being in the wrong as they yell at the white girl. These are one of the many racial discrimination that Queenie and many other black people face in their everyday life.

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In the novel, several literary tropes are used in the writing of Queenie that makes it an exciting book. Characterization is a literary tool used to depict Queenie as this character who emerges as the victor in the end despite all her tribulations. Queenie is seen as a character who tries to downplay her emotions from the start of the book. Even when her aunt tries to find out what was wrong when they visited a gynecologist, Queenie tells her that it is simply women’s problems and yet she had miscarried. Queenie downplays her sexual relationships as meaningless. Even the rough encounter she had with Guy leaves her physically hurt to the horror of her nurse, who asked her if she was in an abusive relationship. Queenie, despite this, still embraces Guy as her sexual partner up until she gets tired of it. Queenie refers to her friends as corgis and her as Queen in her WhatsApp group in reference to the Queen and her three corgis. Here an animal epithet is a name used to label a person or group; corgi is a breed of dogs known to be intelligent. Queenie’s sense of comedy as she refers to her friends as corgis as they are always there to receive affirmation for her decisions. Some of the decisions that she makes are questionable even to her group of friends. Still, despite all the warnings, she doesn’t seem to listen, her questionable decisions put her more into a mess, and her friends seem to be almost always there to pick her up. She also makes one of her friends, who is also a workmate, they are always seen to engage in conversations concerning Queenie’s love life. Her friendships are used to portray her character traits.

Oxymoron is used as a rhetorical device. Queenie is often referred to as black and yet white many times in the book. The author uses the book to address the issues of racism not only from other racial groups but also within the same ethnic group. Roy, her mother’s abusive ex, refers to her as bounty. Bounty is a bar of chocolate that has coconut inside. This refers to her being black in terms of color but white in terms of language as she doesn’t speak like Jamaicans. Even in her workplace, Queenie is termed by her colleagues as not being too black as some of her fellow black people. Kyazike, her friend, refers to a time when some of the black people telling her why she was friends with Queenie, with them telling her that she was too white for the black people, and yet in her everyday life, Queenies is treated as being too black by the whites.

The author also uses juxtaposition in her work. The relationship between Queenie and one of her friends’ Cassandra is weird. Cassandra is seen as organized, financially stable, and able to attract men who have good intentions. On the other hand, for most of the book’s life, Queenie is a mess as she handles her life post break up, and her lack of a savings account is rubbed in when Cassandra almost always bails her out of her money troubles. Queenie’s relationship with men seems unhealthy with all the sexual relationships Queenie has with different men. Cassandra rubs this in when she finds out that Queenie had been sleeping with her boyfriend all along. Despite all these, Queenie is almost similar to her friend Cassandra; despite finding out that her boyfriend cheats on her decides to take the relationship more seriously and moves in with the guy. Although Cassandra’s and Queenie’s personalities are different in many ways, the book depicts some similarities in staying in relationships despite red flags.

Queenie’s sarcasm is a constant fixture in the book. Her sarcastic nature makes her a relatable character to people in real life. The book opens with Queenie sarcastically texting “Wish you were here” to her boyfriend while lying with her legs in the stirrups for a gynecological examination. In comparison with her relationship with men, Queenie sarcastically tells her friend that they cannot be lucky in their relationships as Cassandra is. Through this, Queenie is portrayed as funny.

The irony is used as a literary trope in a situation where there is a contrast between expectation and reality. The irony is associated with both tragedy and humor. In the book, there are many instances that irony has been portrayed. For example, Kyazike and Cassandra seem to get along based on them both wearing heels when they view fireworks with all her friends. With the creating f the WhatsApp group, Corgis, all her friends who don’t know each other, are added to the group just by being friends with Queenie. Each friend of Queenie’s is seen as a completely different person, with Kyazike being an activist in terms of black lives matter and Cassandra one of the close friends despite being the one she has known in the least amount of time, and Cassandra as overbearing and yet she helps out Queenie when she is in financial need. The friends get along with one aim that is to help their friend Queenie in getting over her mess of love life. The irony is shown in Queenie’s workplace despite some of her workmates saying that they are liberalists they do not participate in the protest of Black lives matter. Irony can be used to show character development and different issues that are being addressed in the book.

The book employs flashbacks as one of the significant literal tropes. The character Queenie always falls to flashbacks when something in her present triggers a memory in her past. She daydreams about her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and almost always contacts her boyfriend. Through flashbacks provided in her therapy, we get to learn of Queenie’s traumatic childhood. She technically raises herself as she spends most of the time alone as her mother’s boyfriend hates her. Her traumatic childhood is expressed when we see how Roy’s character is depicted as an abusive person who goes to the extent of beating up Queenie’s mother. Flashback is used to show some of the insecurities and where they stemmed from in Queenie’s character.

Literary theory is used to show the relationship between the author and his or her work—literary theory in terms of the cultural history that works can be analyzed. A book can also be analyzed in terms of the biography of an author. Queenie can be interpreted in terms of the socio-cultural issues at the time the book was being written. Topics such as police brutality and race hatred for a significant part of the plot of the book. Queenie is a young black woman in the United Kingdom who works for a newspaper. In the publishing industry, in terms of racial discrimination and democracy, blacks are still a minority in the publishing sector. The author portrays their minority through Queenie in her book as Queenie is also one of the few blacks in her workplace. Candice’s dating experience as a black woman is expressed in the book through Queenie, who gets on a dating app and meets the stereotypical men who see black women as sexual objects. Although Queenie engages in sexual encounters with some of the white guys, some of her dates assume that she is the typical black woman with some racists remarks, such as one of the dates that she went home with telling her that she tasted like chocolate just because of her skin color. This ends with her engaging in an argument about racism with the stranger, and Queenie frustratedly goes home after futilely explaining to the guy that his remarks were racist. The political and social events such as the Black lives movement influence the book in many ways, with Kyazike and Queenie going on a protest to protest over brutal killing. The book is based a little bit on the background of Candice Carter. Candice has Jamaican parents, and the main character also has Jamaican background. As seen by the conversation, she can identify with the patois that Queenie’s grandparents almost always engage in while conversing. Candice’s childhood is also not that good. In a way, Queenie is a version of a modern black woman in today’s society relatable to Candice and other working young black adult women. The book’s inspiration comes from Bridget Jones’s diary, The book is referred to as a Black Bridget Jones, but the book breaks out over the dramedy Bridget Jones’s diary is based on. Queenie is similar but different as some issues such as police brutality and racial discrimination are brought to light. Queenie is a psychological fiction that deals with Queenie’s mental problems as she breaks up with her boyfriend. The naming of her characters is also unique. One of Queenie’s friends is Darcy; there is borrowing from different books and real life, such as naming the WhatsApp group as corgis regarding the Queen of England and her three corgis. Pride and Prejudice’s book inspires Darcy, and Darcy is seen as one of the closest friends of the main character. Literary theory can be expressed either in terms of the biography of the author or even the social and political contexts that the book was written under.

British works of literature have evolved over the years in terms of what can be considered a canon. Canonization was left to the most part to teachers who decided if a book could be read in a class or not. In the 21st century, a society, for the most part, determines whether a book is influential according to that period or not. British literature has allowed for the integration of other cultural aspects in their writing. Although the British works of literature have evolved, there is still an underrepresentation of BAME authors. On the writing of Queenie, which won the British Book Awards of the Year award, Candice is but one of the few Black writers having won such an award and her book being recognized. Queenie is a book that falls under the category of Psychological fiction. Its’ inclusion in the canon of major British works of literature shows the changes modern-day British literature has undergone. Queenie is a book that was written in the context of Britain that involves a black woman of Jamaican descent but British nationality.


The book shows the different cultural aspects of people of black ethnicity other than the predominant white. The book is influential in that it has allowed the United kingdom to embrace it and other parts of the world, such as America, from the many of the reviews that it has received. Queenie, as a canon, despite being published in 2019, has tried to shape the idea of a black British girl. Many of the stereotypes have been addressed, such as only considering black girls as sexual objects compared to their counterparts. Racism is another issue that has been shown across all aspects of everyday life and even in workplaces. For example, in the publishing and newspaper industry, even from studies, very few black people work in the industry. Most of the canonization was brought on by scholars like in the education sector in trying to make some works of literature into course books, thus influencing the impact of a particular book. One can argue whether Queenie can be considered a major British work of literature. It tries to depict a British society despite changes in the literature world; racism and underrepresentation of BAME authors are still wanting.

Queenie as a book is both influential and worth read. It shows that Black lives matter and the many instances that people mistreat others without understanding how people of other ethnicities relate to each other. In a modern world, the differences of each race need to be represented. In terms of author representation, more efforts need to be made to ensure that the rate of misrepresentation and underrepresentation is at least reduced among the BAME authors. Although there have been strides in deciding whether a writer’s work is influential, emphasis should be made regarding the 21st century in terms of what the writer has chosen to address in present society.

Works Cited

APS Group. Transforming the Response to Domestic Abuse Consultation Response and Draft Bill CP 15., 2019.

“Candice Carty-Williams – Wikipedia.”, Carty-Williams. Accessed 16 Apr. 2021.

Carty-Williams, Candice. Queenie. London, Trapeze, 2020.

Chambers, Veronica. “How Candice Carty-Williams Created Our New (Fictional) Best Friend: Queenie Jenkins.” Shondaland, 8 Apr. 2019, Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

McIntosh, Kimberly. “Everything You Need to Know about Black Lives Matter UK.” Gal-Dem, 25 Sept. 2020,

“Trope (Literature) – Wikipedia.”, ~:text=A%20literary%20trope%20is%20the. Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.


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By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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