Black History Month UK

International Black History Month UK is upon us and this year’s theme is ‘Sharing Journeys’ – an exploration of the lives and stories of the people who came to Britain in the 19th and 20th centuries and helped laid the foundations of today’s diverse Black British Community.

To celebrate this we have put together a list of eBooks and Audio books written or narrated by talented Black, indigenous, and people of colour.

If you live in the UK and you would like more information about Black History Month or related events is your area visit – https://www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk/

This list includes;

  • People who are familiar with Harriet Jacobs’ ‘Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl’ will like this novel! – Lola Leroy
  • 2015 Southwark Arts Forum Award for Literature for Black Poppies: Britain’s Black Community and the Great War, awarded the Screen Nation Special Award in 2017 and an Honorary degree from Southbank University for over 20 years in his field. – Author Stephen Bourne
  • ‘The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man’ is perfect for readers of Brit Bennett’s ´The Vanishing Half´. – The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

‘Iola Leroy’, one of the first novels published by an African-American woman, follows a group of slaves who are seeking refuge with the approaching Union army during the Civil War. The Union commander is made aware that a beautiful young woman is being held as a slave in the neighborhood and sets her free.

Evelyn Dove embraced the worlds of jazz, musical theatre and, most importantly, cabaret, in a career spanning five decades from the 1920s through to the 1960s. A black British diva with movie star looks, she captivated audiences and admirers around the world, enjoying the same appeal as the ‘Forces Sweetheart’ Vera Lynn throughout the Second World War.

Refusing to be constrained by her race or middle–class West African and English backgrounds, she would perform for infamous Russian leader, Joseph Stalin; become a regular vocalist for the BBC and a celebrated performer across continental Europe, India and the US.

At the height of her fame in the 1930s, she worked with the pioneers of black British theatre, replacing Josephine Baker as the star attraction in a revue at the Casino de Paris and scandalizing her family by appearing on stage semi-nude.

This is a celebration of an extraordinary career punctuated with vertiginous highs and profound lows, and places Dove in historical context with artists of her time, such as Adelaide Hall, Dame Cleo Laine and Dame Shirley Bassey.

A fictional tale set in America at the turn of the 20th century, ‘The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man’ tells the story of a mixed-race man whose lighter skin allows him to pass for a white man when the need arises.

Charting his journey across the racial divides, it describes his journey from a black college kid in Jacksonville to a successful man living in the white suburbs of the Northeast.

This gripping, powerful novel is a landmark work in black American literary history, and its unsentimental look at race relations in America describes many of the racial issues that still affect the country to this day.

Sometimes true life spins more shocking stories than the minds of writers. That is the case with ‘The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano’.

The understated title masks an autobiography where truth trumps fiction, featuring kidnapping, death, slavery, jail, transportation, rape, Christian faith and much more.

It is also one of the most important books of its time, the late 18th century. For its publication told the truth about the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and sowed the seeds for the abolition movement that eventually stopped it.

‘Wynema’ (1891) is a novel by Native American writer Sophia Alice Callahan. Occupying the position as the first-ever novel written by a Native American woman, it is an important and gripping account of the hardships suffered by Native Americans, and further covers the infamous ‘Massacre at Wounded Knee’.

When a married couple hears of the horrors at the battle of Wounded Knee, they decide to adopt a Native American orphan girl. But raising a Lakota girl in a white town influenced by Western values and Christianity inevitably leads to a clash of cultures.

For more information about these titles, or our full English catalogue contact Nadia on – nadia.lamond@sagaegmont.com or simply book a meeting.

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