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  • Published: 19 March 2024
  • ISBN: 9780593472583
  • Imprint: Tiny Reparations
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $55.00

How to Live Free in a Dangerous World

A Decolonial Memoir



Poet and journalist Shayla Lawson follows their National Book Critics' Circle Finalist This Is Major with these daring and exquisitely crafted essays, where Lawson journeys across the globe, finds beauty in tumultuous times, and powerfully disrupts constraints of race, gender, and disability.

“Phenomenal.... A memoir that opens into the world, with brilliance, courage, and elegant prose.... This is a book to read, read again, and remember.”—Imani Perry, New York Times bestselling author of the National Book Award winner South to America

Poet and journalist Shayla Lawson follows their National Book Critics Circle finalist This Is Major with these daring and exquisitely crafted essays, where Lawson journeys across the globe, finds beauty in tumultuous times, and powerfully disrupts the constraints of race, gender, and disability.

One of Esquire's Best Memoirs of 2024
Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2024 by Elle, Them, Book Riot, LitHub, Stylecaster, and Chicago Review of Books

In their new book, Shayla Lawson reveals how traveling can itself be a political act, when it can be a dangerous world to be Black, femme, nonbinary, and disabled. With their signature prose, at turns bold, muscular, and luminous, Shayla Lawson travels the world to explore deeper meanings held within love, time, and the self.

Through encounters with a gorgeous gondolier in Venice, an ex-husband in the Netherlands, and a lost love on New Year’s Eve in Mexico City, Lawson’s travels bring unexpected wisdom about life in and out of love. They learn the strength of friendships and the dangers of beauty during a narrow escape in Egypt. They examine Blackness in post-dictatorship Zimbabwe, then take us on a secretive tour of Black freedom movements in Portugal.

Through a deeply insightful journey, Lawson leads readers from a castle in France to a hula hoop competition in Jamaica to a traditional theater in Tokyo to a Prince concert in Minnesota and, finally, to finding liberation on a beach in Bermuda, exploring each location—and their deepest emotions—to the fullest. In the end, they discover how the trials of marriage, grief, and missed connections can lead to self-transformation and unimagined new freedoms.

  • Published: 19 March 2024
  • ISBN: 9780593472583
  • Imprint: Tiny Reparations
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $55.00

Praise for How to Live Free in a Dangerous World

Praise for This Is Major

"Whip-smart."—People

"[A] pitch-perfect blend of wit and keen observation and analysis. A book that makes you laugh and think at the same time."—Shondaland, "15 Hot Books for Summer"

A kaleidoscope of wit, humor, sorrow and deeply felt thinking and questioning of modern life.”—Ocean Vuong