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Examining diversity and race in literature has many strands. References to 'black literature' does not effectively separate 'black' experiences. Powerful American voices such as those of Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou speak not only about the experience of being an African-American but also from a female perspective. James Baldwin spent most of his writing life outside of America and was openly gay. W.E.B Du Bois and Amiri Baraka wrote both fiction and scholarly articles but all of these authors have their perspectives rooted in the American experience. In the UK, the experience of the Windrush generation spawned an entirely different form of experiential writing, and more recent authors such as Zadie Smith and Monica Ali tell stories from a particular generational and migrational view point and so 'black literature' has many different forms.
So, using the term 'black literature' should be handled carefully. The English Department at Bryanston has considered diversity for a number of years. 'A Raisin in the Sun' is studied at GCSE and 'The Hate U Give' is the chosen book for D as well as a breadth of writers and poets. Some of the department's recommendations are included below.
When examining literature, we should think about the 'voices' being conveyed, the context of the text but also think about works of fiction and non-fiction.
If you have any books that you think are important then please do email firstname.lastname@example.org with a short summary and we will add them to the list.
Through the links below you can find a wide range of materials that help to inform and educate:
- Read it forward - books about race
- The Guardian - race in Britain
- Waterstones - read against racism
- Hello Magazine - powerful books on racial injustice that are essential reads
- Penguin - racism black lives matter antiracist reading list books