Covers of Exit West, Who Are We, Girl Woman Other and How to Change It, on a yellow background

The (incomplete) Lit in Colour book list: Years 12-13

Have a look at some of the titles in the list for years 12-13. Explore titles on Activism, British history, Love, Identity, Family, Politics and more. You can also view the full list in the downloadable PDF.

Books by other publishers

Cover of Woman at Point Zero

Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi

Published by Zed Books

Egyptian writer El Saadawi founded the Arab Women's Solidarity Association and co-founded of the Arab Association for Human Rights, and was one of the most famous feminists the Western world hasn’t heard of. She authored more than 50 novels, short stories and non-fiction works, centring on the status of women, and was jailed for her activism in 1981, before being forced to flee Egypt in 1988. She eventually returned to Cairo in 1996, and lived there until her death in 2021.

Her seminal feminist novel Woman at Point Zero is the story of Firdaus, an Egyptian peasant girl who is currently in jail. Firdaus shares her memories of violence at the hands of men including her abusive father, her much older husband and her deceitful boyfriend-turned-pimp, violence that leads her to take radical action. First published in 1975 in Arabic, the book is still as relevant and sharp today.

Topics/themes: Violence against women, feminism

Cover of The Buddha of Suburbia

The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kurieshi

Published by Faber & Faber

Kureishi’s debut novel is about dreamy teenager Karim, desperate to escape suburbia and experience the forbidden fruits of the 1970s. When he gets an unlikely opportunity to work in theatre, he starts to get the attention he craves, although the results are unexpectedly rude and raucous.

The Buddha of Suburbia was made into a BBC television series with a soundtrack by David Bowie, and in an essay Zadie Smith described the book as a “lovely, funny, honest” novel. It won the Whitbread Award for best first novel (now the Costa First Novel Prize).

Topics/themes: Coming of age, humour

Cover of Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race

Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Published by Bloomsbury

Eddo-Lodge’s book was inspired by a blog post of the same name that went viral.

In Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, which sparked a national conversation and a genre of similar books, Eddo-Lodge explores the link between class and race, the eradication of Black history and more. Other books to read on similar topics included Afua Hirsch’s Brit(ish) and Akala’s Natives.

The paperback of Eddo-Lodge’s book saw her become the first Black British author ever to take the number one spot on the non-fiction paperback charts in the UK.

Topics/themes: British history, racism, class

Cover of Dance of the Jakaranda, a red snake on a beige background

Dance of the Jakaranda by Peter Kimani

Published by Telegram Books

Set in Kenya in 1963, when the country is on the verge of independence from British colonial rule, people from all backgrounds come together at the previously white-only establish, the Jakaranda Hotel. There, the resident pianist is Rajan Salim, who one evening is kissed by a mysterious woman in a shadowy corridor. Unable to forget her, he sets out on to find her, stumbling on the journey on the murky, shared history three men: his grandfather, British preacher Richard Turnbull, and Ian McDonald, owner of the Jakaranda and former colonial administrator. What Rajan learns will open his eyes.

Kimani is a Kenyan journalist and author, and Dance of the Jakaranda was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. 

Topics/themes: Colonialism, Kenyan history

4 book covers on a purple background: The Extraordinary Life of Serena Williams, Tall Story, Girl Woman Other and Run Rebel

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