Homecoming

Homecoming

Voices of the Windrush Generation

Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

When Colin Grant was growing up in Luton in the 1960s, he learned not to ask his Jamaican parents why they had emigrated to Britain. ‘We’re here because we’re here,’ his father would say. ‘You have some place else to go?’


But now, seventy years after the arrival of ships such as the Windrush, this generation of pioneers are ready to tell their stories.


Homecoming draws on over a hundred first-hand interviews, archival recordings and memoirs by the women and men who came to Britain from the West Indies between the late 1940s and the early 1960s. In their own words, we witness the transition from the optimism of the first post-war arrivals to the race riots of the late 1950s. We hear from nurses in Manchester; bus drivers in Bristol; seamstresses in Birmingham; teachers in Croydon; dockers in Cardiff; inter-racial lovers in High Wycombe, and Carnival Queens in Leeds. These are stories of hope and regret, of triumphs and challenges, brimming with humour, anger and wisdom. Together, they reveal a rich tapestry of Caribbean British lives.

Homecoming is an unforgettable portrait of a generation, which brilliantly illuminates an essential and much-misunderstood chapter of our history.

(c) 2019, Colin Grant (P) 2019 Penguin Audio

Reviews

  • A remarkable oral history of black postwar British life… Homecoming is an extraordinary and compelling book in which the memories of bus drivers, civil servants, engineers, nurses, RAF and army recruits, teachers, shop stewards and seamstresses jostle with those of journalists, musicians, novelists and poets... The recovered memories in Homecoming are a formidable challenge to those still nostalgic for a lost empire, to all who cling to narrow and parochial definitions of Britishness... The voices in Homecoming sing throughout the book but they also reverberate pain, for so many are recounting stories they do not want to remember.
    Hazel V Carby, Daily Telegraph

About the author

Colin Grant

Colin Grant is a historian and author of five highly praised books: Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey (2008), I and I: The Natural Mystics Marley, Tosh and Wailer (2011), Bageye at the Wheel (2012), A Smell of Burning (2016), and Homecoming (2019). He is an Associate Fellow in the Centre for Caribbean Studies, and teaches creative non-fiction writing, most recently for Arvon and Sierra Nevada College.
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