Contemporary Black and Asian British writing is changing how we see and read literature in English today
Writers such as Aminatta Forna and Andrea Levy, Daljit Nagra and Kamila Shamsie, Linton Kwesi Johnson and Bernardine Evaristo, have created work that fundamentally challenges prevailing ideas of British literature.
Reading them reminds us that British writing has a diverse range of backgrounds and many different histories.
This website offers ways into exploring this exciting work.
Read more about the great writing featured in this project, see profiles of the writers, and access other teaching and learning resources.
Find background information, videos, short essays, annotatable extracts and other material on the particular literary works we have featured in our project.
Watch videos of the writers reading and discussing their work.
Browse and search our entire archive of text, images, audio and video.
Reading Black and Asian British writing shapes our sense of the world and our place in it
Black and Asian writing in English also raises interesting questions about reading. How do readers relate and respond to work of this kind? How do we enter the different worlds it opens to us, or find our own worlds transformed?
What happens when we read? Are we passive consumers or active participants in creating the worlds of books? Learn more about different ways of thinking about reading.
Approaches to reading
How much of your experience of reading a book is shaped by the words on the page or by what surrounds these words? Find out about different approaches to reading.
Reading and reception
What happens in our minds when we read? See how different thinkers explain the processes of reading, reception and cognition.
Identifying with literature
How do we engage with literature about contexts that are familiar or different from our own? Explore how reading can help us to think differently about ourselves, others and the world.
Performance and reading
How does the performance of a work of literature affect our experience of it? Read about literature in performance and watch two poets perform their work.
Through their work, writers invite readers to engage with their ideas and welcome them into their imaginative worlds. They ask us to imagine our world in new ways. These pages explore different authors’ thoughts about their writing and their writing’s relationship to the world.
Black writing now
Read more about Black writing as a mode of resistance, self-expression, and empowerment.
How can we disrupt rigid categories and relationships in writing and reading? Find out about this project, which explores how literary writing is shaped by critical and cultural forces.