And It Begins Like This


And It Begins Like This weaves together historical and genealogical research, folklore, Biblical passages, literary theory and criticism, and personal memory to examine the legacy of slavery and its relationship to Black female identity in contemporary America. Excerpts of And It Begins Like This have been published in Ninth Letter, Indiana Review, The Los Angeles Review, Carve MagazineBennington Review, Passages North, The Adroit Journal, The Coil, and have won the Harper Palate Prize in Creative Nonfiction and the Disquiet Prize in Nonfiction. One of the essays has been listed as a “Notable Mention” in Best American Essays.

And It Begins Like This was selected for 2020 Kalamazoo College’s Summer Common Read.  In addition, it has been selected for Penn State Altoona’s Campus Common Read Program where their students have adapted it for the stage.

And It Begins Like This is available for purchase through Black Lawrence Press.

For booking requests, please contact Christie Hinrichs at


Interview with Eric LeMay with the New Books Network and featured on The Lit Hub 
Interview with Deirdre Sugiuchi for Electric Literature
Interview with John King’s The Drunken Odyssey Podcast (episode 340)
Interview with Sydney Bradley about one of the essays originally published in Bennington Review
Interview with Cameron Maynard about one of the essays originally published in Carve Magazine


“This collection of essays reveals an impressive new voice, both poignant and observant. McQueen suggests loneliness is also the accomplishment of understanding how far away you can move from other people’s expectations. Her clarity rings brightly throughout these works of self-discovery and cultural re-connection.” —Wendy S. Walters

“LaTanya McQueen writes with fierce eloquence about the legacies of family and America’s racial history. Balancing intimate investigation with intricate research, she traces the ways the past is bloodline to the present. Gripping, urgent, at times even shocking, this is a deeply important book, one I will be thinking about for a long time. McQueen is a writer— and a mind—to watch.” —Alex Marzano-Lesnevich

“LaTanya McQueen’s essays offer a bold examination of the weight history, both personal and societal, places on our present moment. And it Begins Like This is a book brave enough to challenge our accepted notions of the past to put black women in their rightful place, in the forefront of the ongoing struggle for dignity and equality. It’s a book that is both moving and absolutely necessary.” —Rion Scott