Featuring eight established writers and introducing four exciting new voices, this anthology of stories and poetry from BAME writers is a long-overdue addition to the YA scene.
The authors each interpreted the theme of change in their own unique and compelling voice.
“A Change Is Gonna Come is a brilliant response to the dearth of BAME voices in UK publishing. It’s a proactive step that looks to find new talent, and show publishers, agents and the rest of the industry, that writers from minority backgrounds are out there.” – Sarah Shaffi, The Bookseller online editor and co-founder of BAME in Publishing.
Responding to a call for work from unpublished and unagented writers, Mary Bello, Aisha Bushby, Yasmin Rahman and Phoebe Roy submitted stories, which were chosen from over a hundred submissions. Stripes also invited aspiring BAME editors to apply to shadow the book’s editor. As a result, twenty-two year old Aa’Ishah Hawton worked closely with Editorial Director, Ruth Bennett, throughout the editorial process.
On being selected for publication in A Change Is Gonna Come, Bushby said: “This year, Stripes are publishing as many BAME UK YA voices in this anthology as the rest of the industry combined, and I’m honoured to be a part of such an important book!”
A Change Is Gonna Come includes a variety of genres from historical to contemporary to magical realism to dystopia, and much of the content feels particularly timely in the face of recent world events.
Introducing four new voices in YA fiction:
Mary Florence Bello – contribution, Dear Asha features a central character undertakes a pilgrimage to visit her ancestral home after the loss of a parent. Mary was born in north London to Nigerian parents and grew up on a diet of tales from Yoruba culture. She studied law and worked in finance before embarking on a career as a journalist.
Aisha Bushby – contribution delves into the intersection of race and mental health in her story, Marionette Girl, which highlights living with OCD and anxiety. Aisha was born in the Middle East. After spending some time in Kuwait, Lincolnshire, Birmingham, Vancouver, and Cheltenham, she now lives in Cambridgeshire and works in London as assistant to a literary agent.
Yasmin Rahman – contribution is, Fortune Favours the Bold which explores the impact of terror attacks on the British Muslim community, particularly young hijab-wearing women. Yasmin is a British Muslim born and raised in Hertfordshire. She is currently working on her second MA, in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University. She co-founded and edits online literary magazine Scrittura and creates fan art for her favourite books – one of her designs is currently being sold worldwide by bestselling author John Green.
Phoebe Roy – contribution, Irridescent Adolescent, which is imbued with the metaphor and magical realism so often used in literature to examine the human condition. Phoebe is part Indian and part Jewish, and is from north London. She has a first-class degree and master’s in Archaeology and Ancient History. She has worked as an editor, tutor, production editor, ghost writer and features writer.
Established authors include:
Tanya Byrne – contribution, Hackney Moon views same-sex relationships through an own voices lens, resulting in a realistic portrayal of teen experiences as a girl comes to terms with losing her first love when she finds unexpected happiness elsewhere. Tanya was born in London and now lives in Brighton. Her mother was Guyanese and her father was Irish. After eight years working for BBC Radio, she left to write her debut novel, Heart-Shaped Bruise. Since then she has also written Follow Me Down and For Holly.
Inua Ellams – contribution is a poem reflecting on memories of a homeland left behind. Inua was born in Nigeria and now lives in London. He is an award-winning poet, playwright, performer, graphic artist & designer. He has published three pamphlets of poetry and his first play, The 14th Tale, was awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival.
Catherine Johnson – contribution brings hidden figures to the forefront, looking at prejudice faced by real-life historical character William Darby (b. 1811) who became one of the country’s top circus showmen. Catherine was born and still lives in London. Her dad was from Jamaica and her mum was Welsh. Her books include the YA Book Prize short-listed The Curious Tale of Lady Caraboo, and Sawbones, which won Young Quills best historical novel. She also writes for film and TV, including Bullet Boy.
Patrice Lawrence – contribution is from the dystopian genre. Patrice was born in Brighton and brought up in an Italian-Trinidadian household in mid Sussex. She now lives in east London. Her first novel, Orangeboy, was the winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for Older Children and the YA Book Prize, and shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Book Award.
Ayisha Malik – contribution is, A Refuge which reflects on friendship and complicated family dynamics amidst charitable aid at a refugee camp. Ayisha is a British Muslim born and raised in South London. She has spent various spells teaching, being a book publicist and an editor. Her debut novel, Sofia Khan is Not Obliged, was met with great critical acclaim. Ayisha has also ghost-written The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters with Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain.
Irfan Master – contribution is from the dystopian genre. Irfan was born in Leicester to an Indian father and Pakistani mother. His debut novel, A Beautiful Lie, was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and the Branford Boase Award. He has worked as a librarian and a project manager at the National Literacy Trust, before becoming a full-time writer.
Musa Okwonga – contribution is poetic offering, The Elders on the Wall a rallying call for young people to take charge of the future, no matter what opportunities seem closed to them. Musa was born in London to Ugandan parents and is now based in Berlin. He is a journalist, musician and the author of two books about football, a poetry collection, Eating Roses for Dinner, which J.K. Rowling described as brilliant, and a contributor to The Good Immigrant.
Nikesh Shukla – contribution is, We Who? which looks at fraught friendships in the wake of political disagreement. Nikesh is a British Indian Londoner, now living in Bristol. He is the author of Costa First Novel Award-shortlisted Coconut Unlimited, and Meatspace, and editor of The Good Immigrant, winner of the Books Are My Bag Readers’ Choice Award and for which he was named in Foreign Policy magazine’s 100 Global Thinkers of 2016.
The cover illustrator:
Lucy Banaji is part English, part Indian and grew up in south-west London. She trained in fine art and is a self-taught illustrator. Lucy has worked in various areas of illustration including publishing, stationery and website rebranding. She creates bold and fun illustrations by combining both handmade and digital textures.
For your chance to win a copy of the YA Anthology ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ answer this easy question:
Popular British Black YA author’s correct name is:
A) Malorie Blackgirl
B) Malorie Blackboy
C) Malorie Blackman
Please email your answer with your full contact details [name, address, contact number] to email@example.com no later than Friday 14th July 2017
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A CHANGE IS GONNA COME
Written by: Mary Bello, Aisha Bushby, Tanya Byrne, Inua Ellams, Catherine Johnson, Patrice Lawrence, Ayisha Malik, Irfan Master, Musa Okwonga, Yasmin Rahman, Phoebe Roy and Nikesh Shukla
Cover illustration by Lucy Banaji
Published 10th August 2017