To all the book lovers out there looking for some literary inspiration, check out our Read Widely in 2022 campaign, Manchester Libraries year-long promotion of fabulous fiction by authors of colour, highlighting the best voices recently published in the UK.

Our headline novel is A More Perfect Union. This breathtaking, romantic debut novel by Tammye Huf, is based on the true story of the author’s great-great grandparents.

Throughout the year we are championing this book, focussing on it with regular tweets and promotions. In addition, we’re adding monthly recommendations for other great reads, chosen from the 2021 Jhalak Prize and the Diverse Book Awards nominations.

So, as it’s August and we’re celebrating Manchester Pride, our latest recommendation is the stunning, debut novel, Rainbow Milk, by Paul Mendez.

Rainbow Milk is an intersectional coming-of-age story, following nineteen-year-old Jesse McCarthy as he grapples with his racial and sexual identities against the backdrop of a Jehovah’s Witness upbringing and the legacies of the Windrush generation.

In the Black Country in the 1950s, ex-boxer Norman Alonso is a determined and humble Jamaican who has moved to Britain with his wife to secure a brighter future for themselves and their children. Blighted with unexpected illness and racism, Norman and his family are resilient in the face of such hostilities, but are all too aware that they will need more than just hope to survive. At the turn of the millennium, Jesse seeks a fresh start in London – escaping from a broken immediate family, a repressive religious community and the desolate, disempowered Black Country – but finds himself at a loss for a new centre of gravity, and turns to sex work to create new notions of love, fatherhood and spirituality.

Shortlisted for the Jhalak Prize

Shortlisted for the Polari Prize

Extra copies of all the Read Widely books featured will be available to borrow. Or if you’re part of a Manchester Libraries reading group and fancy giving any of them a go, get in touch for a book set by emailing

Previous Read Widely recommendations;

Ingrid Persaud, Love After Love

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, The First Woman

Sairish Hussain, The Family Tree

Kia Abdullah, Truth Be Told

Sareeta Domingo, If I Don’t Have You

To check availability or reserve a copy for collection from your local library please access the online catalogue here