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Reading Around The World

July 10th, 2020

First, thanks to Esther for last week’s blog. She is, of course, absolutely right. If you want to make it as a writer  then you have to be prepared to persevere, and you can’t sit back waiting for results. You’ve got to keep sending work out – the more you get out there, the greater your chances of success.

When the ‘black lives matter’ campaign started I noticed that quite a few publishers and websites started suggesting lists of BAME authors. I had a look at some of them and felt that quite a few were little more than a token gesture. So, I’ve been thinking about some of my favourite authors – ones that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend – and here they are. There’s no one on this list that I haven’t read at least one of their books and enjoyed it. I just hope you get as much pleasure if you decide to try them. Incidentally, they’re not in any kind of order of preference.

Rohinton Mistry ‘A Fine Balance’ was recommended to me by numerous people and it really lived up to expectations. But be prepared to shed a tear!

Aravind Adiga ‘White Tiger’ gives a really authentic flavour of India (I read it a couple of weeks after I returned from a trip there) and I’m now looking forward to getting my hands on the new book ‘Amnesty’.

Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things) and Kiran Desai (The Inheritance of Loss) are both well known writers.

Colson Whitehead is probably best known for ‘The Underground Railroad’ but my favourite is ‘The Nickel Boys’

And who could leave Toni Morrison off a list like this? All her books are worth reading  but I  particularly enjoyed ‘The Bluest Eyes’.

Well known because of TV adaptations of her work is Andrea Levy, but reading ‘Small Island’ or ‘The Long Song’ is much better than watching them on the screen.

I’m a great fan of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ about the Biafran war is hard to beat but ‘Americanah’ is a great read too and ‘The Thing Around Your Neck’ is a diverse collection of short stories.

Oyinkan Braithwaite is a breath of fresh air with her amusing ‘My Sister the Serial Killer’ and I recently stumbled on a book by Mary Alice Monroe – ‘Red Light Wives’. I’m not sure it would appeal to everyone as the ending is a little too ‘feel good’ to be convincing. But her dialogue leaps off the page. You can really hear the characters talking!

Aminatta Forna is truly brilliant. ‘The Hired Man’ and ‘The memory of Love’ are both great books but for me the best is her memoir of childhood in Sierra Leone during the horrors of civil war called ‘The Devil That Danced on Water’.

Finally, one that’s on most bestseller lists at the moment, ‘Girl Woman Other’ by Bernardine Everisto which won the 2019 Booker Prize jointly with Margaret Atwood. I listened to her being interviewed on radio recently and she’s a fascinating lady.

I could go on and on, but think that’s plenty to whet your appetite now that lockdown is easing and most of us can start getting back to busier, more outgoing lives.

My guest next week is Colin Watts who will be taking you on a long distance journey through his writing career.

Author: Diana Nadin

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