(article by Calvin Reid appearing in Publishers Weekly)

W. Paul Coates with Madame Diop (Christiane Yandé Diop) the Matriarch of the three generations of Black women who own and run Préscence Africaine bookstore.


In a gesture of support for independent black publishing in France, writes Calvin Reid, National Book Award-winner Ta-Nehisi Coates and his US publisher, One World (a division of Penguin Random House), have released the French edition of his bestselling We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy through Editions Présence Africaine (EPA), a historic French-African publishing house based in Paris.

The French edition was published on 24th September, according to Gloria Loomis, Coates’s agent. In mid-October, Coates will arrive in Paris to begin a series of public events, including print and broadcast interviews in support of the EPA edition of We Were Eight Years in Power.

Ta-Nehisi Coates in Préscence Africaine bookstore

Coates says that his interest in publishing with EPA was inspired by a similar effort made by another popular black author – Walter Mosley. In 1996, Mosley offered Gone Fishin’, an installment in his bestselling Easy Rawlins crime series, to Black Classic Press (BCP), an independent house founded by Coates’s father, W Paul Coates. The book sold more than 100,000 copies, making it one of the biggest books ever published by BCP, and was a key factor in the development of BCP, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this year.