Black British Arts and Culture

The Black British Arts and Culture collection includes books about the black presence in Britain, current and historical, as well as books by black British authors.

Black British Writers book covers

These are just a sample of the books available. For a wider selection, please have a look at our recommendations on the library catalogue

Kit De Waal

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Kit de Waal was born in Birmingham to an Irish mother, who was a childminder and foster carer and a Caribbean father. Her writing has received numerous awards including the Bridport Flash Fiction Prize 2014 and 2015 and the SI Leeds Literary Reader's Choice Prize 2014 and the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year. MY NAME IS LEON, her first novel was published in 2016 and shortlisted for the Costa Book Award. She has two children and lives in the West Midlands.

Malorie Blackman

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Blackman was born in Clapham, London. Her parents were both from Barbados. At school, she wanted to be an English teacher, but she grew up to become a systems programmer instead. She earned an HNC at Thames Polytechnic and is a graduate of the National Film and Television School.

Her first book was Not So Stupid, a collection of horror and science fiction stories for young adults, published in November 1990. Ever since, she has written more than 60 children's books, including novels and short story collections, and also television scripts and a stage play.

Patrice Lawrence

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Patrice Lawrence was born in Brighton, Sussex, and was brought up in an Italian-Trinidadian family,her mother having come to England from Trinidad to train as a psychiatric nurse. Lawrence has an MA in Writing for Film and TV, and was mentored by the BBC as a prospective comedy writer. Her first story to be published was "Duck, Duck, Goose", which was included in The Decibel Penguin Prize Anthology (Penguin Books, 2006). It was while attending an Arvon Foundation crime writing course led by Dreda Say Mitchell and Frances Fyfield that Lawrence had the idea for her debut young adults' novel, Orangeboy.

Alexandra Sheppard

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A social media strategist by day and writer by night. She was born and raised in North London, where she still lives and hopes never to leave. Oh My Gods is her debut novel.

John Agard

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He grew up in Georgetown, British Guiana. He loved to listen to cricket commentary on the radio and began making up his own, which led to a love of language. He went on to study English, French and Latin at A-level, writing his first poetry when he was in sixth-form, and left school in 1967. He taught the languages he had studied and worked in a local library. He was also a sub-editor and feature writer for the Guyana Sunday Chronicle, publishing two books while he was still in Guyana.His father settled in London and Agard moved to Britain with his partner Grace Nichols in 1977, settling in Ironbridge, Shropshire. He worked for the Commonwealth Institute and the BBC in London.


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Atinuke was born and grew up in Nigeria. She writes children's books because she loves the vibrancy, joy, wisdom and humour of her own African culture, which she includes a lot of in her work. She shares with children all over the world how modern life is in Africa, how amazing African traditions and cultures are, and how our human joys and sorrows are the same.

She also tells traditional African stories which make her international audiences laugh and cry. Her books have been published in the UK, USA, France and Japan and have won lots of awards. Atinuke spends most of her time at home quietly dreaming up stories, but she sometimes visits schools and book festivals — she loves to meet her readers! Atinuke lives in Pembrokeshire.

Article posted on 4 February 2020

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