Unconfessed tells the story of a woman’s platonic love for her fellow inmate in an early 19th century South African prison. Seeking to depict the intimate connection between the prisoners, I used two separate images by acclaimed photographer Lorna Simpson and intertwined the braids of their hair. This image of a single, combined braid also suggests the chains of slavery, an important motif in the story. Additionally, the striking physical beauty of the woman captured in the photograph mirrors the sensual, poetic style of the novel.

This cover illustrates my approach to book cover design generally. Not only should a cover be arresting and beautiful but it should also express visually as much as possible the literary work it advertises. Too often book covers seem to be disjointed from the books themselves, reflecting the artist’s superficial knowledge of the literary work.