As we draw closer to the end of November, here are five books you should read …

Whites by Otegha Uwagba

In this power essay, Otegha Uwagba, best-selling author of Little Black Book, reflects on racism, whiteness and the mental labour required of Black people to navigate with white people.

Drawing on personal experiences and observations Whites explores the colossal burden of whiteness, as told by someone who is in her own words, ‘a reluctant expert’. Uwagba addresses complex interracial dynamics and longstanding tensions, providing a deeply intimate portrayal of the Black experience.

Promising reviews:
Devoured this. Sharp, pointed, clear and brutal stuff.” – Nikesh Shukla, editor of The Good Immigrant

“An eloquent, heartfelt mini-memoir. Otegha Uwagba examines the subtle ways in which fighting racism is hampered not only by those who are obviously racist, but more perniciously by those who believe themselves to be anti-racist.‘ – Angela Saini, author of Inferior and Superior

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Girl: Essays on Black Womanhood by Kenya Hunt

Black women have never been more visible or more publicly celebrated. But for every new milestone, every magazine cover, every box office record smashed, the reality of everyday life remains a complex, nuanced, contradiction-laden experience.

Edited by award-winning journalist Kenya Hunt, and featuring contributions from Candice Carty-Williams, Jessica Horn, Ebele Okobi, Funmi Fetto, and Freddie Harrel, Girl is a provocative, heartbreaking, and frequently hilarious collection of original essays on what it means to be black, a woman, a mother and a global citizen in today’s ever-changing world.

Promising review:
Kenya Hunt, the award-winning American journalist in London, provocatively threads cultural observations through relatable stories that illuminate our current cultural moment while transcending it.” – Refinery29

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Windrush Child by Benjamin Zephaniah

Benjamin Zephaniah’s new novel, Windrush Child, explores what it was like to be a child of the Windrush generation.

Leonard is shocked when he arrives with his mother in the port of Southampton. His father is a stranger to him, it’s cold and even the Jamaican food doesn’t taste the same as it did back home in Maroon Town. But his parents have brought him here to try to make a better life, so Leonard does his best not to complain, to make new friends, to do well at school – even when people hurt him with their words and with their fists. How can a boy so far from home learn to enjoy his new life when so many things count against him?

Promising reviews:
Zephaniah pulls no punches in his depictions of the racism that Leonard suffers both at school and in the streets in a powerful, moving account of family and fitting in” – iNews

“An invaluable story for any young readers who enjoy adventure and want to learn more about the Windrush generation’s experience. Essential reading.” – Alex Wheatle

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Locating Strongwoman by Tolu Agbelusi

A #Twentyin2020 release, Locating Strongwoman is a portrait of unperformed femininity. Eschewing the stereotypical portrayal of the “Strong Woman” and the even more loaded “Strong Black Woman”, Tolu Agbelusi’s poems invite the reader to interrogate the protagonists and find in their stories a quiet strength.

Promising review:
This is an important and thoroughly engrossing piece of work. Loved it.” – Abidemi Sanusi, author of Looking for Bono

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The Street Hawker’s Apprentice by Kabir Kareem-Bello

Temilola is a kind-hearted boy from the upper echelons of Nigerian society who wakes up alone in the middle of Lagos and discovers that he has lost his memory.

A young street hawker begrudgingly takes him under his wing and teaches him how to survive on the streets. Bound by fate and a dark secret, he and his mentor, Vipaar, must evade brutal street leaders and government gangs to survive in this Dickensian tale.

Part of Jacaranda Books’ Twenty in 2020 initiative.

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