South African poet Koleka Putuma has a dazzling YA poetry collection coming out this summer through Hot Key Books titled We Have Everything We Need to Start Again. The cover just came out and we could not be more stunned by the whimsical beauty depicted in the cover!
The poetry collection is geared toward YA readers as an empowering and uplifting collection of poems that helps young people figure out who they are. According to the publisher’s synopsis, the poems contain affirming words and serve as “the ideal companion to hold your hand while you navigate all the big questions, discoveries and transitions of young adulthood.”
We can definitely see this key goal of inspiring YA readers reflected in the simple yet stunning book cover! Featuring a cream background with lavender watercolor brush strokes, the cover depicts the title of the collection above an illustration of a young adult woman with long flowing hair and bold lips. She is portrayed as whimsically gazing into the distance toward the left of the book cover, while the space above her head is filled with butterflies flitting about.
In a conversation with us, Putuma remarked that the cover is an apt representation of her poetry:
The cover captures the spirit of the collection, which is youthful and hopeful. The reader, who I had in mind when creating the book, is at the centre of the collection’s poems, which tackle a variety of subjects like identity, climate change, heartbreak, and politics. The cover is an invitation to readers of all ages, while simultaneously making references to the contents of the collection.
The book cover is the perfect blend of adolescent nostalgia mixed in with an inspirational outlook toward the future. The cover was designed by Stockholm-based Adriana Bellet, who did a brilliant job bringing the poetry collection to life through a visual medium.
Koleka Putuma is a South African poet and theater practitioner whose work tackles themes such as queerness, womanhood, and race. Her debut collection of poems Collective Amnesia was published in 2017 and received the 2018 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry, was named 2017 book of the year by the City Press, and one of the best books of 2017 by The Sunday Times and Quartz Africa. Putuma published her sophomore collection of poems, Hullo, Bu-Bye, Koko, Come In in 2021.
She is a Forbes Africa Under 30 Honoree, 2022 winner of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award, recipient of the CASA playwriting award and the 2019 Distell Playwriting Award, and was nominated one of Okay Africa’s most influential women in 2019. Putuma is also the Founder and Director of Manyano Media, a multidisciplinary creative company that empowers and produces stories by black queer women.
Putuma’s We Have Everything We Need to Start Again will be published on June 20, 2024 in the US and UK, with a May release date in South Africa.