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Willow Smith announces her debut novel

Willow has announced details of her debut novel, Black Shield Maiden. Published by Del Rey Books with co-writer Jess Hendel, the story is set to be released on October 4th. The musician announced the book on Instagram, which came with a picture of the book’s cover. 

Black Shield Maiden is the first entry in a fantasy series, which will be available in paper and digital formats. Penguin Random House Audio will also release an audiobook.

Black Shield Maiden follows Yafeu, a young warrior who is stolen from her home in the Ghanaian Empire. She’s thrust into the strange and enchanting new world of the Vikings, where she encounters a Viking princess, Freydis, who is something of a kindred spirit. Aided by Freydis, Yafeu sets out to alter the course of history and become a shieldmaiden, something hitherto unheard of for an African woman. 

Per a statement on the release, the book “makes visible the histories and mythologies of medieval African peoples, and women of the Viking Age, which have been erased by dominant Western narratives in media and education”.

Willow said: “I’m so grateful to bring the story of Black Shield Maiden to the world. At their core, the issues we’re facing now are the same issues we’ve faced time and again throughout our history. That’s why we create new narratives, from different perspectives and even look back into history for deep wisdom that can inspire & help us evolve. My hope is that this story will do that for readers.”

It’s been a rather busy period for Willow. Last week, she teamed up with Texan rapper Machine Gun Kelly for the trap-inflected new single ‘Emo Girl’. It is taken from Kelly’s upcoming new record, Mainstream Sellout, which is scheduled for release on March 25th.