Black British writers: we're more than just Zadie Smith and Monica Ali | Irenosen Okojie

Our publishing industry seems to champion just one or two black and Asian authors at a time. Lack of diversity is a real problemMonths back I was trudging through the streets of Dalston when I spotted a copy of Simi Bedford's Yoruba Girl Dancing in a charity shop window. It evoked the same emotion that stumbling into an old school friend might – part nostalgia and part wonder at the old magic. I found myself inside the store reaching for it, just as I had done years ago as a teenager. The book is a hilarious, touching read about a Nigerian girl sent to boarding school in England. Back then, it resonated with me deeply. I too had been a young Nigerian girl sent to England at the age of eight to attend boarding school in Norfolk. Its recounting of otherness in an unfamiliar land made me laugh and recall my own experiences. There was something about that dancing silhouette on the cover that seemed hopeful, unburdened somehow, and, though I'd been enamoured of the talents of Roald Dahl and Harper Lee, it was refreshing to see an author who looked like me.As I left the shop, it made me wonder: whatever happened to Simi Bedford? I know she wrote another novel, Not With Silver, but whatever happened not just to her, but to the career trajectories of other black and Asian female British authors?I admire the tenacity of writers such as Andrea Levy, who deserved to garner more attention earlier in their careers. Andrea eventually went on to have great success, but there was little... Continue reading at 'The Guardian'

[ The Guardian | 2014-03-23 00:00:00 UTC ]
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