New book covers for March 2021, including The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman

New books: 22 new fiction and non-fiction titles to look out for in March 2021

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Brand new book releases from Yaa Gyasi, Amanda Gorman and Megan Nolan plus new memoirs, poetry, activism and more. 

From International Women’s Day to Mother’s Day, March is a celebration of women and this month’s new releases really are reflecting where our heads are at right now: tackling some very difficult moments but also hopeful about the future.

Searing and genre-building new fiction arrives from Yaa Gyasi, Megan Nolan and Lisa Harding plus there’s poetry from Amanda Gorman and a lovely anthology of motherhood edited by Ana Sampson. Short stories about love featuring Sara Collins, Kuchenga and more will leave you with hearts in your eyes while Lisa Congdon’s You Will Leave A Trail Of Stars is a bright and beautiful book of illustrations that soothes and calms. 

Activism books are also tackling everything from diversity in boardrooms to the abolition of prison incarceration to maternity prejudice and Laura Whitmore’s brilliant and uplifting No One Can Change Your Life Except For You is an essential buy. So read on to discover 22 new titles to bring hope, insight, intelligence and joy to your bookshelf. 

  • Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

    Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi book cover
    22 new books for March: Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

    “Whenever I think of my mother, I picture a queen-sized bed with her lying in it, a practiced stillness filling the room. For months on end, she colonized that bed like a virus…” Yaa Gyasi is back with the much-anticipated Transcendent Kingdom (out 4 March)the follow-up to her breakout debut Homegoing. Instantly captivating, it’s about a girl called Gifty whose Ghanaian family uproot for a better life in Alabama only to become enveloped by tragedy and grief. But that’s not all – it’s about evolving, trusting and finding a form of faith too. 

    Shop Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (£13.94, Penguin) at Bookshop 

  • The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman

    The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman
    22 new books for March: The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman

    “We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be: A country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free.” On 20 January 2021 at Joe Biden’s swearing in, the talent that is Amanda Gorman stole the show with a fierce and uplifting rendition of her poem The Hill We Climb. Published with a foreword by Oprah Winfrey, this is a moment of history in book form (out 30 March). 

    Shop The Hill We Climb (£9.29, Vintage) at Bookshop

  • No One Can Change Your Life Except For You by Laura Whitmore

    No One Can Change Your Life Except For You by Laura Whitmore
    22 new books for March: No One Can Change Your Life Except For You by Laura Whitmore

    Inspired by the Wilson Phillips lyric “no one can change your life except for you”, this funny and uplifting book by presenter Laura Whitmore is a frank look at understanding people’s all-too-familiar insecurities and worries and how to build up your own sense of self-confidence and belief. As we all slowly begin to take baby steps back to the real world this year, this is a go-to book for putting your foundations back together (out 4 March). 

    Shop No One Can Change Your Life Except For You by Laura Whitmore (£9.34, Penguin) at Bookshop

  • Three Mothers by Anna Malaika Tubbs

    Three Mothers by Anna Malaika Tubbs
    22 new books for March: Three Mothers by Anna Malaika Tubbs

    Three Mothers is the story of the women who gave birth to and shaped three of most influential men of the 20th century: Martin Luther King Jr, Malcom X and James Baldwin. From their own activism and encouragement in the face of vicious oppression and racism, they raised men who would lead and mould the Civil Rights movement. Fascinating and beautifully written, do not miss (out now). 

    Shop Three Mothers by Anna Malaika Tubbs (£17.65, HarperCollins) at Bookshop

  • His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie

    His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie
    22 new books for March: His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie

    Chosen as one of the Reese Witherspoon reads for 2021 and championed by The New York Times and Time, Peace Adzo Medie’s His Only Wife is the readable tale of Afi who accepts an offer to marry the rich and distant Eli and escape her life in rural Ghana. The only problem is Eli’s heart belongs to another and his family isn’t happy about it. With characters making questionable decisions and a rather brilliant ending, this is a good old-fashion book club read that’ll leave you arguing about character motivations and morals (out now). 

    Shop His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie (£12.08, Oneworld) at Bookshop

  • Night Feeds And Morning Songs by Ana Sampson

    Night Feeds And Morning Songs by Ana Sampson
    22 new books for March: Night Feeds And Morning Songs by Ana Sampson

    Celebrating the sisterhood of motherhood in all its many varied, tired and exultant forms, this beautifully curated collection of poems is an inspired buy for Mother’s Day. From Sylvia Plath’s Morning Song (“Love set you going like a fat gold watch”) to Imtiaz Dharker’s resonating First Words (For Ava) “She know the moon even when it is nothing more than a curl on blue, or half an ear listening for the next star. Even the disc of milk in a bowl is moon”, it’s a collection to buy and treasure for the generations (out 4 March). 

    Shop Night Feeds And Morning Songs by Ana Sampson (£12.99, Orion) at Foyles

  • Pregnant Then Screwed by Joeli Brearley

    Pregnant Then Screwed by Joeli Brearley
    22 new books for March: Pregnant Then Screwed by Joeli Brearley

    Joeli Brearley is an activist and mother who founded Pregnant Then Screwed after being sacked when she was four months pregnant. With 54,000 women forced out of their jobs by pregnancy (and this was before the pandemic led to twice as many mothers taking time off with no pay due to school closures or a sick child), this is a call to arms for a fairer and more equal society (out 4 March)

    Shop Pregnant Then Screwed by Joeli Brearley (£12.94, Simon & Schuster) at Bookshop

  • The Balkan Trilogy by Olivia Manning

    Balkans Trilogy by Olivia Manning
    22 new books for March: Balkans Trilogy by Olivia Manning

    Rereleased with glorious new covers, Olivia Manning’s The Balkan Trilogy is the story of newlyweds Guy and Harriet Pringle, who arrive in Bucharest – “the Paris of the East” – in the autumn of 1939, just weeks after the German invasion of Poland. Sweeping across countries and time scales as the war takes off, it’s an ambitious and classic series that’ll utterly absorb you (out now).  

    Shop Balkan Trilogy by Olivia Manning (£8.36, Cornerstone) at Bookshop

  • Acts Of Desperation by Megan Nolan

    Acts Of Desperation by Megan Nolan
    22 new books for March: Acts Of Desperation by Megan Nolan

    From the recent essay by actress Tavi Gevinson to the Britney Spears documentary that inspired it, there is a much-needed and difficult conversation happening around young women’s sexuality and how it can be co-opted by abusers to exploit and oppress. Tapping into this zeitgeist comes one of the books of 2021: Megan Nolan’s Acts Of Desperation. Exploring the life of her unnamed narrator, it’s a heartbreaking-but-resonating portrait of one woman’s savage mistreatment of herself in the name of love (out 4 March). 

    Shop Acts Of Desperation by Megan Nolan (£13.94, Vintage) at Bookshop

  • Common Ground by Naomi Ishiguro

    Common Ground by Naomi Ishiguro
    22 new books for March: Common Ground by Naomi Ishiguro

    Stan and Charlie meet in their teens, both battling against a world of bullies, distant parents and prejudice. Forming a friendship, the novel explores how those perceived as “other” are treated in Britain through slurs and violence before reuniting the pair many years later as adults at a party in London. Beautifully written, this is a book of real hope and connection (out 25 March). 

    Shop Common Ground by Naomi Ishiguro (£15.79, Headline) at Bookshop

  • Mary Anning by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara and Popy Matigot

    Mary Anning by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara and Popy Matigot
    22 new books for March: Mary Anning by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara and Popy Matigot

    The latest release in the Little People, Big Dreams series, Mary Anning is a beautifully illustrated tale of the woman who (along with her dog, Tray) became one of the world’s leading fossil hunters and Mother of Palaeontology despite the underhand male scientists who failed to herald her discoveries at the time. (Even older readers will find themselves googling the lightning strike that her local neighbours claimed would be the source of her genius…) (out now)

    Shop Mary Anning by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara and Popy Matigot (£9.29, Quarto) at Bookshop

  • The Manningtree Witches by AK Blakemore

    The Manningtree Witches by AK Blakemore
    22 new books for March: The Manningtree Witches by AK Blakemore

    Set in 1643, the village of Manningtree has been left unmanned by the Civil War and women are left to their own devices. Then Matthew Hopkins, the infamous Witchfinder General arrives, and fear starts rising. Exploring male oppression and misogyny trussed up as religious fervour, Blakemore’s brilliant written story is both fascinating and compelling – her character of Rebecca West is particularly enduring (out 4 March).

    Shop The Manningtree Witches by AK Blakemore (£12.08, Granta) at Bookshop 

  • Bright Burning Things by Lisa Harding

    Bright Burning Things by Lisa Harding
    22 new books for March: Bright Burning Things by Lisa Harding

    Like Shuggie Bain, Lisa Harding’s Bright Burning Things is an unflinching story of motherhood and alcoholism. Former actor Sonya returns home to Ireland from London with her four-year-old son Tommy and their rescue dog Herbie. But past trauma and her own upbringing cause her to spiral into self-abuse and chaos. A deeply insightful and moving tale told from Sonya’s perspective and one that makes you care and root for all involved (out 4 March). 

    Shop Bright Burning Things by Lisa Harding (£13.94, Bloomsbury) at Bookshop

  • The Pioneering Life Of Mary Wortley Montagu by Jo Willett

    The Pioneering Life Of Mary Wortley Montagu by Jo Willett
    22 new books for March: The Pioneering Life Of Mary Wortley Montagu by Jo Willett

    The incredible life story of Lady Mary Wortley, this is a woman who battled doctors, politicians and clerics 300 years ago to give her three-year-old daughter an inoculation against smallpox (after seeing it first-hand in Turkey). She also wrote poetry with Alexander Pope and avoided an unwanted marriage by eloping, only to enter into a disastrous affair with a much younger man before escaping back to England. If you love history and biographies, you’ll have a lovely time with this (out 30 March). 

    Shop The Pioneering Life Of Mary Wortley Montagu by Jo Willett (£23.25, Pen & Sword) at Bookshop

  • Who’s Loving You edited by Sareeta Domingo

    Who's Loving You edited by Sareeta Domingo
    22 new books for March: Who's Loving You edited by Sareeta Domingo

    In need of some romance and a sweeping celebration of love? Well, this glorious anthology edited by The Nearness Of You author Sareeta Domingo is just the thing. Kuchenga conjures up love, regret and hope in the letter of a boy to his deceased mum; Sara Collins reimagines the 1945 film Brief Encounter for the present day and Varaidzo gives us the mind-bending tale of June who falls for May – the voice behind a social media account that seems to be transmitting four years ahead of its time (out 4 March). 

    Shop Who’s Loving You edited by Sareeta Domingo (£13.94, Orion) at Bookshop

  • The Barbizon by Paulina Bren

    The Barbizon by Paulina Bren
    22 new books for March: The Barbizon by Paulina Bren

    Optioned by HBO and Emilia Clarke, The Barbizon is a social history of New York’s “home for the Modern Woman seeking a career in the arts”. Sylvia Plath (who fictionalised her time there in The Bell Jar), Grace Kelly, Joan Didion, Meg Wolitzer, Liza Minnelli, Elaine Stritch, Phylicia Rashad and Rita Hayworth all stayed there between 1927 and the 80s and this history is the perfect escape for those who consider Rona Jaffe’s The Best Of Everything to be one of the greatest books ever written (which it is). 

    Shop The Barbizon by Paulina Bren (£18.60, John Murray) at Bookshop

  • Belonging by Kathryn Jacob, Sue Unerman and Mark Edwards

    Belonging by Sue Unerman and Kathryn Jacob
    22 new books for March: Belonging by Sue Unerman and Kathryn Jacob

    How’s this for some damning facts? There are only eight female CEOs of FTSE 100 boards and only 10 BAME people working in leadership roles across companies in the FTSE 100. Despite studies showing that the more diverse a board, the more successful it is (companies with more culturally and ethnically diverse executive teams were 33% more likely to see better-than-average profits). In Belonging by Kathryn Jacob, CEO of cinema ad company Pearl & Dean, and Sue Unerman, chief transformation officer at MediaCom, along with writer Mark Edwards, argue the case that men need to transform themselves into active allies in changing this limiting and oppressive status quo (out now). 

    Shop Belonging by Kathryn Jacob, Sue Unerman and Mark Edwards (£18, Bloomsbury) at Bloomsbury

  • The Mirror And The Palette by Jennifer Higgie

    The Mirror And The Palette by Jennifer Higgie
    22 new books for March: The Mirror And The Palette by Jennifer Higgie

    An uplifting and dazzling tour through history, this is an exploration of women artists from the past 500 years celebrating the names who lived and created entirely on their own terms. From two the ground-breaking self-portraits of Caterina van Hemessen in 1548 to New Zealand’s modernist Rita Angus, this is a breakout book that shifts the spotlight onto the names that the art world has painted over. It’s illuminating and essential reading (out 18 March).

    Shop The Mirror And The Palette by Jennifer Higgie (£18.60, Orion) at Bookshop    

  • We Do This ‘Til We Free Us by Mariame Kaba

    We Do This 'Til We Free Us by Mariame Kaba
    22 new books for March: We Do This 'Til We Free Us by Mariame Kaba

    Mariame Kaba is the founder and director of Project NIA, a grassroots organisation with a vision to end youth incarceration. In this book of essays and interviews, Kaba explores the history of the abolitionist movement and suggests a roadmap for how the world could do things differently while creating a more successful outcome than “the punishment system” is currently (out 9 March). 

    Shop We Do This ‘Til We Free Us by Mariame Kaba (£12.99, Haymarket) at Amazon

  • For When I’m Gone by Rebecca Ley

    For When I'm Gone by Rebecca Ley
    22 new books for March: For When I'm Gone by Rebecca Ley

    For fans of Maggie O’Farrell and Jojo Moyes, this is a sweeping book of love, motherhood, death and hope. Mother-of-two Sylvia is dying of breast cancer and leaves her husband Paul a manual to navigate family life. Funny and straight-talking (“Watch out for Eliza Jenkins… Eliza is not who we want Megan to drink her first alcohol with. Eliza won’t hold back her hair”) at points, quietly devastating at others, it’s a beautiful story that will leave you weeping but is also strangely cathartic after the events of the last 12 months (out now). 

    Shop For When I’m Gone by Rebecca Ley (£13.94, Orion) at Bookshop

  • Fears To Fierce by Brita Fernandez Schmidt

    Fears To Fierce by Brita Fernandez Schmidt
    22 new books for March: Fears To Fierce by Brita Fernandez Schmidt

    Brita Fernandez Schmidt is the executive director for Women For Women International, a charity which helps the women survivors of war rebuild their lives and in this book she makes a moving and uplifting argument for finding inspiration in ourselves and the women around us. That by looking to other women and connecting with them, we can find the courage and the ability to become powerful and, in turn, help others to make real change across the globe. A timely read for International Women’s Day and beyond (out now).

    Shop Fears To Fierce by Brita Fernandez Schmidt (£13.94, Ebury) at Bookshop

  • You Will Leave A Trail Of Stars by Lisa Congdon

    You Will Leave A Trail Of Stars by Lisa Congdon
    22 new books for March: You Will Leave A Trail Of Stars by Lisa Congdon

    Last but not least… one of the paradoxes of anxiety is that when you’re feeling anxious, you can actually forget how to self-soothe. So with this in mind, Lisa Congdon’s You Will Leave A Trail Of Stars is the perfect book to keep on hand for when life throws unexpected stress your way. Filled beautiful, bright illustrations, it’s also a treasure trove of soothing advice and words. The perfect gift to yourself or someone you know who’s having a hard time (out 18 March).   

    Shop You Will Leave A Trail Of Stars by Lisa Congdon (£11.15, Chronicle) at Bookshop

Images: courtesy of publishers

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Francesca Brown

Francesca Brown is books editor for Stylist magazine and Stylist Loves; she also compiles the Style List on a weekly basis. She is a self-confessed HBO abuser and has a wide selection of grey sweatshirts. Honestly, you just can’t have enough. @franabouttown

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