Black Xibit book list
'Why don't you stop talking'
In this, Jackie Kay's first collection of short stories, we experience a wonderfully varied range of tales. Women's roles as mothers, daughter and lovers are amusingly, poignantly and lovingly portrayed in a whole gamut of situations. Each story has a momentum of its own and will make you want to laugh or cry. Jackie Kay was raised in Glasgow and now lives in Manchester. She has written poetry and biography and won the Guardian Fiction Prize for her acclaimed novel Trumpet.
The daughter of an MP is murdered on Londons South Bank. Due to the inactivity of the police force, the MP hires Private Investigator Ervine James to find out the truth. With its blend of patois and descriptive vocabulary this contemporary thriller brings the underbelly of modern Britain to life. After the publication of his first novel, The Scholar, Courtia was soon labelled part of the new breed of young Black British writers. In Courtias own words: We live in a multicultural society, my stories draw on lots of experiences, experiences which contain black, white, multicultural influences. My books should be accepted universally, marketed universally and should be able to appeal to all kinds of audiences.
A song flung up to heaven
This long-awaited final part of her autobiography, which began all those years ago with I know why the caged bird sings, does not disappoint. It starts with Mayas return to America to work with Malcolm X and ends with her beginning to write her first memoir. It covers the years that saw the murders of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. It was a very difficult book to write. It took me six years to write this book and its the slimmest of all the volumes. Mayas own life story and history is interwoven into Black Americas political and cultural fabric.
The god who begat a jackal
This is an enchanting African folklore story of forbidden love, set in 17th century Ethiopia. Aster, the daughter of feudal lord Count Ashenafi, falls passionately in love with slave Gudu. They have to overcome taboo, ethnic and religious struggles to keep their love going. This is captivating book allows the reader a glimpse into African History. Nega grew up in the waning days of Emperor Haile Selassies reign over Ethiopia. Becoming disillusioned he escaped to Canada and has lived there ever since. He returned to Ethiopia in 1983 but now lives in Toronto and works as an engineer.
Like a natural woman
This is a woman-to-woman guide to alternative techniques and therapies, with the idea of putting women back on the road to health and well-being. Ziba looks at folk medicine handed down from African ancestry and shows her readers how to cope with a range of health issues. An inspiring and informative book every woman should have a copy. Ziba lives in New York, USA and is former Senior Health Editor to Essence magazine. She has always written on a variety of health related topics and contributed to The Black Parenting Book.
This is a novel about history and culture about the expectations of a man born to honour his traditions and the conflicts he experiences when he desires personal happiness and passion in his life. It also examines how a woman born to honour tradition ensures it is maintained by her love for her husband, an admired father and respected ambassador, and the many sacrifices she makes to keep her tradition. Elizabeth Nunez was born and raised in Trinidad and is now Distinguished Professor of English at City University, New York. She is co-editor of a collection of essays: Defining Ourselves: Black Writers in the 90s and chairs the PEN American Open Book Committee.
Linton Kwesi Johnson
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Hard-hitting vibrant poetry. Lyrics that speak out and make themselves heard. Much more than just black on white but words to say out loud. Linton Kwesi Johnson has become only he second living poet to have been included in Penguin Modern Classics. He founded what Fred DAguiar has called the most original poetic form to have emerged in the English language in the last quarter century.
Ayana Bird and Lori Tharps
Hair Story: untangling the roots of Black hair in America
Have you ever wondered how the Jheri Curl got its name? Ever wondered why black people wrap their heads overnight? Wonder no more! All these questions and many, many more are answered in one excellent book. Ayana Bird is a freelance writer for various major magazines and Lori Tharps is a correspondent at entertainment weekly magazine. Byrd and Tharps tie the personal to the political with humour and an appreciation of hairs power and wonder.
Meant to be
This very well written novel tells the story of Jan and her journey towards womanhood. The story is told through the eyes of the spirit of Jans grandmother, Hannah. Unseen by Jan and the people around her Hannah is able to follow Jan through every moment of her life. The author describes Hannahs attempts to guide Jan towards becoming the person that Hannah knows she has the potential to become. As the people around Jan tell her stories of their lives and the reasons why the have become the people that they are, Jan begins to develop into a better person.
Donna Hill tells the story of three generations of women and the way secrets that two of them keep have a devastating effect on all their lives. The novel begins with Cora and an event that makes her feel too ashamed to tell anyone about. Coras inability to tell her daughter the truth leads to the two of them becoming estranged. Coras granddaughter Parris has the ability to reconcile all three generations of women. The novel examines the question of personal identity and the sense of estrangement that occurs when a person is perceived as being different from those around them
The Emperor of Ocean Park
For almost 20 years Stephen Carter has been carrying a powerful character around in his imagination. A cold, distant person of strong political views says Carter, the patriarch of his family, pretty conservative in the sense that a lot of old, traditional black families are conservative. While he experimented with ways to free his character to tell his story Carter pursued his career as a professor of law. One of the most interesting threads of the book is Carters portrayal of the black upper class and black professionals. I didn't grow up with that kind of wealth but many do. Another thing I wanted to talk about are some of the perceptions of black professionals who work in predominantly white places.
Mr Potter is Jamaica Kincaids new novel about a father and daughter. It is set, like all her fiction, on the island of Antigua and tantalisingly reveals the life story of the main character and his attitudes whilst also subtly doing much more. A well written story in true Kincaid style, fans of her novels will have the pleasure of reading about the interesting history of certain characters. This latest instalment makes for a really fascinating and absorbing read.
Complex and confused identities are central to London Crossings, Mike Phillips musings on life since arriving in Britain from Guyana 45 years ago. It is written as a collection of snapshots; leaving his home town in tears at 13 as he saw his school friends for the last time; being left behind for a second time by his disenchanted parents who escaped London to build a new life in New York; becoming a father; finding his long lost brother and attending the same mans funeral 20 years later. It is an explanation of the development of a Black British identity from his own personal viewpoint to the wider perspective of what it means to be Black and British today. Black British identity is confused with both the African-Caribbean and African-American perspective. I wanted to write something that was about Black British identity and culture itself.
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