Glory Edim knows that the best books offer audiences a reflection of their humanity. To that end, she created Well-Read Black Girl, an online book club that celebrates literature created by Black women. She expanded that idea beyond the digital sphere with a Brooklyn-based book festival and a literary anthology, which brings together Black female writers’ reflections on the creative process and the works that inspire them. Edim told Code Switch on Sunday (December 2) that she sees “Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves” and her other related properties as a form of advocacy. 

“There is so much in the stories that is rooted in activism and solidarity,” she says of the anthology, whose contributors include Jesmyn Ward (“Sing, Unburied, Sing”), Jacqueline Woodson (“Another Brooklyn”) and Lynn Nottage (“Sweat”). “Books are the foundation of the community we’ve built, and activism is a part of that. I believe that reading is activism. I do see parallels, because it’s about creating your own space and being self-determined and not having to rely on the status quo of industries to define your personal success or ideology. It’s really about speaking out and resisting bigotry in a lot of spaces.”

Edim also discusses the books that help anchor her Nigerian-American identity, the Black Arts Movement and how the late Ntozake Shange embodied “Black Girl Magic.” Learn more about Edim’s journey and artistic perspective at NPR.org.