October marks Black History Month in the UK, in which we celebrate the monumental achievements and contributions of black culture and heritage, past and present. With this in mind, we’re sharing a list of books to read this month that provide valuable insight into black experiences – all for just 0.99.
Some Kind of Black by Diran Adebayo
Winner of the 1995 Saga Prize, this is a brilliant debut from Diran Adebayo is a coming of age story set amongst the African diaspora and breaks new literary ground as one of the first novels to articulate a British-born African perspective.
It tells the story of Dele, born in London to African parents, who wins a place at Oxford University and finds himself on a cusp between a world of white privilege and the reality of immigrant life in London. As he navigates the city, encountering race politics, riots and police violence, this powerful read remains as relevant today as when it was originally published.
Twelve Shades of Black by Joy Martin
Consisting of a series of interviews each presented as an informative essay, this insightful read sheds important light on the daily lives of black people within the racially charged context of South Africa during the apartheid era.
Exploring the themes of identity and race, Twelve Shades of Black provides a historical glimpse into the reality of life for people living in the townships outside Johannesburg during this period of racial segregation.
Oney: My Escape From Slavery by Diana Rubino & Piper Huguley
The year is 1793, a decade after Washington led America to victory in its fight for independence from Britain. Oney Judge is a ‘quadroon’ – three parts white and one part black. So, unlike the white people who so recently gained their independence from the Mother Country, Oney is not free. So, she decides to escape.
A painstakingly re-imagined account of a true and painful story told generations on, this captivating novel explores the paradox of liberty – for an individual, for a race, for a nation. In a modern world where cultures and histories collide, it is a timely reminder of perspectives on ‘slavery’ and ‘freedom’ that we may have become blind to.
Biko by Donald Woods
Founder of the Black Consciousness Movement, Steve Biko was a natural target for the South African authorities. On 13 August 1977, Steve Biko was arrested, interrogated and beaten. On 12 September he was dead.
Editor of a leading anti-apartheid paper, Donald Woods was a friend of Steve Biko and went into exile in order to write his testimony about the life and work of a remarkable man. The result is this powerful biography that documents the struggle of the Black Consciousness Movement
Narrative of My Escape From Slavery by Moses Roper
Whipped, beaten and worked to death, not many escaped from a life of slavery. But Moses Roper did.
This book tells of his life as an American slave before his escape to freedom. He details the attitudes of slave owners and traders, as well as the torture techniques used on disobedient slaves, as well as the difficulties in finding work experienced by former slaves once they reached the northern states. First published in 1848, this important read is one of the most authentic accounts of slavery.