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From the archive: colleagues give their Black History Month recommendations

For Black History Month, our BAME colleague group, Colour[full], are celebrating their favourite work by Black writers from the Penguin Random House collection; from recent titles to some older must-reads from our archives. 

Photo collage of Black History Month recommendations

Ranging from iconic series that you might have read at school to ground-breaking contemporary writing, Colour[full] share the books that have made an impact on them. Straight from the Penguin Random House archives, as well as some more recent publications, these recommendations barely scratch the surface when it comes to brilliant Black writing, but they’re a great place to start.
 

 In the Castle of My Skin by George Lamming, Michael Joseph 1953
In the Castle of My Skin by George Lamming, Michael Joseph 1953
White Teeth by Zadie Smith, Hamish Hamilton 2000
White Teeth by Zadie Smith, Hamish Hamilton 2000
In the Castle of My Skin
In the Castle of My Skin
'They won't know you, the you that's hidden somewhere in the castle of your skin'

Nine-year-old G. leads a life of quiet mischief crab catching, teasing preachers and playing among the pumpkin vines. His sleepy fishing village in 1930s Barbados is overseen by the English landlord who lives on the hill, just as their 'Little England' is watched over by the Mother Country. Yet gradually, G. finds himself awakening to the violence and injustice that lurk beneath the apparent order of things. As the world he knows begins to crumble, revealing the bruising secret at its heart, he is spurred ever closer to a life-changing decision. Lyrical and unsettling, George Lamming's autobiographical coming-of-age novel is a story of tragic innocence amid the collapse of colonial rule.

'Rich and riotous' The Times

'Its poetic imaginative writing has never been surpassed' Tribune
White Teeth
White Teeth
Chosen by the Guardian as one of the Best Books of the 21st Century

From the MAN BOOKER PRIZE- and WOMEN'S PRIZE-SHORTLISTED author of Swing Time, On Beauty and Grand Union


'BELIEVE THE HYPE' The Times


The international bestseller and modern classic of multicultural Britain - an unforgettable portrait of London

One of the most talked about debut novels of all time, White Teeth is a funny, generous, big-hearted novel, adored by critics and readers alike. Dealing - among many other things - with friendship, love, war, three cultures and three families over three generations, one brown mouse, and the tricky way the past has of coming back and biting you on the ankle, it is a life-affirming, riotous must-read of a book.

'The almost preposterous talent was clear from the first pages' Julian Barnes, Guardian

'Street-smart and learned, sassy and philosophical all at the same time' New York Times

'Outstanding' Sunday Telegraph
Yoruba Girl Dancing by Simi Bedford, William Heinemann 1991
Yoruba Girl Dancing by Simi Bedford, William Heinemann 1991
Letters for Lettie by John Agard, Bodley Head 1979
Letters for Lettie by John Agard, Bodley Head 1979
Poetry Jump-Up by Grace Nichols, Puffin 1990
Poetry Jump-Up by Grace Nichols, Puffin 1990
Ordinary People by Diana Evans, Chatto & Windus 2018
Ordinary People by Diana Evans, Chatto & Windus 2018
Poetry Jump-up
Poetry Jump-up
Dynamic, diverse, lively poetry for children that brings together the voices of black writers from Britain, Africa, America, Asia and the Caribbean, brought together by top British writer and poet Benjamin Zephaniah.
Ordinary People
Ordinary People

**AS HEARD ON BBC RADIO 4 BOOK CLUB**

'Diana is so amazing when it comes to writing about humans and relationships... I don't know anyone who's as skilled as her' Candice Carty-Williams, Oprah Magazine


Two couples find themselves at a moment of reckoning. Melissa has a new baby and doesn't want to let it change her. Damian has lost his father and intends not to let it get to him. Michael is still in love with Melissa but can't quite get close enough to her to stay faithful. Stephanie just wants to live a normal, happy life on the commuter belt with Damian and their three children, but his bereavement is getting in the way.

Set in London to an exhilarating soundtrack, Ordinary People is an intimate study of identity and parenthood, sex and grief, friendship and ageing, and the fragile architecture of love.

'I am shouting from the rooftops to anyone who will listen about this book. It's so so good - realistic and funny and so truthful it almost winded me' Dolly Alderton

'I just finished Ordinary People by Diana Evans and it is utterly exquisite. What a writer she is - the depth of her insight, the grace of her sentences' Elizabeth Day, Twitter

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