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Discussion Guide

The Other Black Girl: A Novel

By Zakiya Dalila Harris

Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust.

 

Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW.

 

It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realizes that there’s a lot more at stake than just her career. Having joined Wagner Books to honor the legacy of Burning Heart, a novel written and edited by two Black women, she had thought that this animosity was a relic of the past. Is Nella ready to take on the fight of a new generation?

 

“Poignant, daring, and darkly funny, The Other Black Girl will have you stressed and exhilarated in equal measure through the very last twist” (Vulture). The perfect read for anyone who has ever felt manipulated, threatened, or overlooked in the workplace.


This discussion guide and book was shared and sponsored in partnership with Simon and Schuster.

Discussion Questions

Use these discussion questions to guide your next book club meeting.

Why do you think the author set this novel in the book publishing industry? How would the story unfold in another setting? How would it be similar or different?

Recalling Colin Franklin’s novel, Needles and Pins, have you ever read a book that was problematic? What was the title and what made it problematic? Why do you think it was able to get published? Was Nella right about confronting Colin about the stereotypes in Needles and Pins?

At what point in the story did you feel suspicious of Hazel? What made her more likable to people in the office?

“Filled with twists both unsettling and unexpected . . . such a timely read.”

– TIME

 

“A thrilling, edgier Devil Wears Prada that explores privilege and racism.”

– Washington Post

 

“A sly satire and thriller rolled into one.”

– BBC

 

“Riveting, fearless, and vividly original. This is an exciting debut.”

– EMILY ST. JOHN MANDEL, New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Hotel

 

 “A psychological thriller for the modern-day working girl . . . filled with suspenseful twists and turns.”

– PopSugar