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Janelle Monáe is making her literary debut with The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories from Dirty Computer. Based on the Afrofuturistic world of Dirty Computer, The Memory Librarian will feature stories written by the eight-time Grammy-nominated recording artist, along with female and non-binary authors. The Memory Librarian, which will be published by Harper Voyager Books, hits bookshelves on 19th April, 2022.
"Sci-fi and Afrofuturism have nurtured my imagination for many moons," Monáe recently told PEOPLE. "It's an honour to be working in these genres to create stories that I hope make all the dirty computers around the world feel seen."
This may be her first foray into the literary world, but Monáe knows how to tell a good story. After releasing her demo album The Audition in 2007, she made an official debut with her concept EP Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase). Inspired by Fritz Lang's science fiction classic film, Metropolis, the five-track project followed fictional character Cindi Mayweather, an android created in the year 2719 who faces a disassembly sentence after falling in love with a human. 2010’s The ArchAndroid continues the story of Mayweather, who’s on a mission to free Metropolis citizens from The Great Divide, a secret society that uses time travel to suppress freedom and love.
Monáe would then go on to release The Electric Lady and stun all of us with praise-worthy on screen performances (Hidden Figures, Moonlight, Antebellum, among others) and release her magnum opus, Dirty Computer (2018), emphasising the importance of people being able to take pride in their sexuality and identity.
"I think that it's important for people to be proud of their identity. I am very proud to be a queer, young Black woman in America. I'm proud of who I am," Monáe told CBS This Morning in 2018. "I love myself, and I want for all the dirty computers around the world to feel seen, to be heard, and to feel celebrated and to know that I'm right there with you.”
The Memory Librarian appears to be an extension of this mission, cultivating platforms for writers of all identities while "exploring how different threads of liberation — queerness, race, gender plurality, and love — become tangled with future possibilities of memory,” as shared in a press release.
"The radical joy of this process has been creating space — creating narratives — within the Dirty Computer world," Monáe told PEOPLE. “And to then have the opportunity to invite these talented writers into those narratives and swim in creative waters together — letting our ideas push each other even further — made it even more special."