In a Guardian interview in 2014, the poet and author, Benjamin Zephaniah speaks of the importance of diversity in books as a catalyst that encourages people to read books. He spoke of being disengaged from reading books as whilst his mother at home told him stories of Jamaica and Jamaican characters, at school, he was told about characters that seemed to live in a different world as they were all from white authors with no non-white characters.
Key is that each and every author and book that they write provide a unique view of the world. The more diverse our reading lists, the richer our perspectives and the better we are able to understand the people we live with on this Island and further afield. Fortunately, things have changed markedly since Zephaniah was young and we now have a broad spectrum of literature available to us inclusive of literature from Black British Authors.
In 2011, Onyekachi Wambu provides and exploration of the work of Black Writers in Britain since the 18th Century, covering The Heart of the Empire; The Arrival of Windrush; The First Wave; Settlement; Protest and Civil Rights; Made In Britain; Here to Stay and New Britain. A very comprehensive outline, though not fully up to date. I know as it doesn’t contain my book, Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain J
A few other Black British Authors of note include:
Andrea Levy who wrote Small Island which focuses on the diaspora of Jamaican immigrants during and after World War II. The book was adapted for television and more recently for a National Theatre production which I absolutely loved.
Zadie Smith who according to her website “has established herself as one of the most iconic, critically respected, and popular writers of her generation.”
Alex Wheatle, the novelist who grew up in a Children’s Home and later spent time in prison. He writes on his experiences inclusive of his participation in the Brixton riots. In h2008 e was awarded as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to literature.
Malorie Blackman, the author of over 40 children, teenager and young adults’ books inclusive of Noughts and Crosses and Unheard Voices.
If you do a search for Black Authors you will now find quite a list of Black British Authors. Doing a search, I was pleased to come across A Quick Ting On which will be launching “a groundbreaking new black British history series will explore subjects from Afrobeats to the power movement. Meet the young minds behind the books” in October 2020. All the authors are under the age of 30.
Finally, I can’t but mention Bernardine Evaristo, the author of Girl, Woman, Other who is the first Black British Female Author, to win the Booker Prize, winning jointly with Margaret Atwood. Truly making strives to make Black Literature more visible.
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Mosaic Fusions: https://mosaicfusions.com/