**Winner of the 2020 Sunday Times/University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Award**
Jay Bernard's extraordinary debut is a fearless exploration of the New Cross Fire of 1981, a house fire at a birthday party in which thirteen young black people were killed.
Dubbed the 'New Cross Massacre', the fire was initially believed to be a racist attack, and the indifference with which the tragedy was met by the state triggered a new era of race relations in Britain.
Tracing a line from New Cross to the 'towers of blood' of the Grenfell fire, this urgent collection speaks with, in and of the voices of the past, brought back by the incantation of dancehall rhythms and the music of Jamaican patois, to form a living presence in the absence of justice.
A ground-breaking work of excavation, memory and activism - both political and personal, witness and documentary - Surge shines a much-needed light on an unacknowledged chapter in British history, one that powerfully resonates in our present moment.
'The verse has anger and political purpose, but a rare lyrical precision, too. The combination is powerful' Sebastian Faulks, Spectator, Books of the Year 2020
*Winner of the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry*
*Shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award; T.S. Eliot Prize; Forward Prize for Best First Collection; Dylan Thomas Prize; RSL Ondaatje Prize; John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize*
*Longlisted for the Jhalak Prize 2020*
Haunting, historical, archival and imaginative... a stunning debut
Surge is a radical hybrid, painfully beautiful multigenerational ghost story, a social document, and a work of political archaeology. It is an indictment of this country's systemic hostility to its black, Asian and ethnic minority population, and the scandalous lack of accountability when this system claims lives. It is a heartbreaking and brilliant book about an ongoing tragedy
Politically and lyrically compelling
Sensitive but devastating verse
A searing combination of artistic invention and meticulous research into the 1981 New Cross Fire
Spanning across five categories, the nominated books range from memoirs, first novels and the very best in poetry.
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