Sidik Fofana’s Stories From The Tenants Downstairs About The Hopes Of The Tenants In One Of Harlem’s High Rises

Check out Sidik Fofana’s upcoming debut Stories from the Tenants Downstairs, from Scribner, on-sale August 16, 2022.

It’s an electrifying collection of eight interconnected stories showcasing the strengths, struggles, and hopes of the tenants of one of Harlem’s low-income high rises in a powerful storytelling experience.

“Sidik Fofana’s timely collection is full of tenderness and truth. With it, he has given us a beautiful blueprint for the gentrification story: let it be bold, let it honor the complexities of those who are struggling to hold on. These stories are at once intimate and familiar, and utterly original…A tremendous debut!”

–Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies

Like Gloria Naylor’s The Women of Brewster Place and Lin Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights, this stunning debut about a tight-knit cast of characters grappling with their own personal challenges as an impending rent increase looms over the building will stick with you long after you’ve flown through the pages.

Each short story follows a tenant in the Banneker Homes, a low-income residential building where the threat of eviction due to an impending rent increase weighs on everyone’s mind.

There is Swan in apartment 6B, whose excitement about his friend’s release from prison jeopardizes the life he’s been trying to lead.


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Stories from The Tenants Downstairs heralds an indelible, inimitable new literary voice. Sidik’s stories are full of humanity and humor and hope, full of insight into the plight of people too often pushed to the margins of America-the-dream. By the end of this collection, the tenants of Banneker Terrace felt as intimate as my own neighbors, friends, family—a testament to the immense fullness with which Sidik portrayed their lives. This magnificent collection is not only a great joy to read, it’s evocative, essential art.”

–Mitchell S. Jackson, author of Survival Math and The Residue Years

Mimi, in apartment 14D, who hustles to raise the child she had with Swan by waitressing at Roscoe’s and doing hair on the side.

You’ll meet the older gentleman happy to sit outside with his chess set, the young boy dancing for change on the subway, and more residents who weave in and out of each other’s lives, endeavoring to escape from their pasts and blaze new paths forward for themselves and the people they love.

Stories from the Tenants Downstairs brilliantly capture the joy and pain of the human experience and heralds the arrival of a uniquely talented writer.

Sidik Fofana

Sidik Fofana earned an MFA from New York University. He lives with his wife and son in New York City where he is a public school teacher.


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