Paul Mendez is a London-based Jamaican-British writer. He was born in 1982 in the Black Country, a historically industrial region. Raised within the Jehovah's Witness faith, Mendez left the organisation while still a teenager.
Upon receiving a manuscript of autobiographical fragments, Dialogue Books publisher Sharmaine Lovegrove challenged Mendez to find the fiction in his story, and the resulting novel, RAINBOW MILK, was published to rave reviews during the 2020 lockdown.
RAINBOW MILK was named one of the Observer's Top Ten Best Debuts for 2020; shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize, the Jhalak Prize, the Polari Prize and in the Fiction Debut category of the British Book Awards. Mendez is currently adapting the novel for a TV series.
He has gone on to write for the London Review of Books, British Vogue, The Face, Attitude, Esquire, Times Literary Supplement and Brixton Review of Books, and is currently studying for the MA in Black British Literature at Goldsmiths, University of London.
April 23, 2020 (Dialogue Books, UK and worldwide)
June 8, 2021 (Doubleday, US and Canada)
An essential and revelatory coming-of-age narrative from a thrilling new voice, RAINBOW MILK follows nineteen-year-old Jesse McCarthy as he grapples with his racial and sexual identities against the back-drop of his Jehovah’s Witness upbringing.
In the 1950s, ex-boxer Norman Alonso is a determined and humble Jamaican who has migrated to Britain with his wife and children to secure a brighter future. Blighted with unexpected illness and racism, Norman and his family are resilient, but are all too aware that they will need more than just hope to survive in their new country.
At the turn of the millennium, Jesse seeks a fresh start in London, escaping a broken immediate family, a repressive religious community and his depressed hometown in the industrial Black Country. But once he arrives he finds himself at a loss for a new centre of gravity and turns to sex work, music and art to create his own notions of love, masculinity and spirituality.
A wholly original novel as tender as it is visceral, RAINBOW MILK is a powerful celebration of self-discovery and intersectionality.
PRAISE FOR RAINBOW MILK
April 23, 2020
When did you last read a novel about a young, black gay Jehovah's Witness man from Wolverhampton who flees his community to make his way in London as a prostitute? This might be a debut, but Mendez is an exciting, accomplished and daring storyteller with a great ear for dialogue. BERNARDINE EVARISTO
Exquisite descriptions of the body, of longing and lust, set against the recent history of the nation. Proof once more there can be no discussion of English history that isn't also a discussion of blackness, queerness and class.' ANDREW MCMILLAN
This book is marvellous, It is beautifully written, balancing fine observation and pathos, sexuality and high culture, struggle with triumph. It's pacy, witty and gentle. I loved every minute of reading this, and I am excited for its future readers.' OKECHUKWU NZELU
The kind of novel you never knew you were waiting for. An explosive work that reels from sex, to sin, to salvation all the while grappling with what it means to be black, gay, British, a son, a father, a lover, even a man. A remarkable debut. MARLON JAMES
RAINBOW MILK AUDIOBOOK
Read by the author. In 1959, Norman Alonso, a 32 year-old Jamaican immigrant to the English West Midlands, is the father of two toddlers. At the beginning of RAINBOW MILK, Norman enlists the help of his two young children to maintain his rose garden, while reflecting on disability, racism and the failed promise of immigration.
LATTE ARCOBALENO, trad. Clara Nubile
17 febbraio 2021, Edizioni Atlantide
Nell’Inghilterra degli anni Cinquanta, l’ex boxeur giamaicano Norman Alonso cerca, tra mille difficoltà e diffuso razzismo, una nuova vita insieme a sua moglie e ai suoi bambini. Nella stessa regione (la cosiddetta Black Country, nelle Midlands) all’inizio dei Duemila suo nipote, Jesse McCarthy, è alla ricerca del proprio posto nel mondo, e di una vita più vera in cui riconoscersi. Jesse è stato cresciuto senza il padre naturale nella locale comunità dei Testimoni di Geova, un ambiente rigido e chiuso dal quale ancora adolescente viene espulso per aver timidamente manifestato le proprie tendenze omosessuali. Biasimato anche da sua madre e dal nuovo marito di lei, Jesse si trasferisce così a Londra e inizia a frequentare uomini più grandi (soprattutto bianchi) a pagamento. In ognuno di loro, non importa quanto possano essere squallidi e violenti, non importa cosa gli chiedano di fare, Jesse cerca un po’ di amore, qualcuno che lo accetti e gli voglia bene per quello che è. Presto però Jesse si trova a rischiare la propria vita per un incontro sessuale più pericoloso ed estremo del solito, ma nel momento peggiore della sua vita conosce un uomo, uno scrittore, con cui nasce una forte amicizia e una grande attrazione reciproca, anche se questi è tuttora sposato con una donna…
Per informazioni pubblicitarie, contattare Maia Terrinoni.
RAINBOW MILK was featured on "Books for 2020" lists by the Observer, Financial Times, New Statesman, AnOther, Cosmopolitan and the i. Through the year, Mendez was interviewed in the Guardian, the White Review, i-D, Attitude, Monocle and Dapper Dan. RAINBOW MILK received strong reviews from the Guardian, the Observer, the Independent, New Statesman, the Sunday Times, the New European, BBC Radio 4 Front Row and the London Review of Books. The Spectator, New Statesman, FT, i, BBC Culture, Stylist, the Guardian, the Observer and the White Review picked RAINBOW MILK for their end-of-year best-of lists.
For publicity enquiries (UK) contact Millie Seaward Millie.Seaward@littlebrown.co.uk.
For publicity enquiries (US) contact Jillian Briglia firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paul Mendez's literary agent is Emma Paterson at Aitken Alexander Associates. For enquiries, contact her assistant Monica MacSwan
Mendez's screenwriting agent is Cynthia Okoye at Curtis Brown. For enquiries, contact her assistant Jessica Price