Postcolonial writers make worlds
Featured here are some of the most exciting writers working in Britain today. Their work ranges from poetry to plays, novels and short stories; from historical epics to intimate memoirs; and from stories that explore very local experiences to those whose scope is global.
These writers give us dynamic new ways of thinking about Britain and British identity. They ask us to revisit our assumptions about how we as readers relate to the wider world and its networks, and encourage us to develop new forms of national and global awareness. Their writing speaks directly to the pressing issues of our time, such as race, migration, inequality and war.
Despite the vitality and importance of this work, writing by Black and Asian British authors has been overlooked in many discussions about contemporary British literature. It is also underrepresented in school and university course lists and marginalised even within the publishing industry. Fortunately, this is starting to change. Conversations about Black and Asian under-representation are increasingly becoming part of our public awareness, A-level teaching resources have been developed, and the path-breaking Cambridge History of Black and Asian British Writing was published in 2018. Some of the attention being paid to this writing is featured on this website.
The word ‘postcolonial’ is usually used to refer to Black and Asian British writing, as well as to literature in English from around the world. This has also been called Commonwealth writing. Oddly enough, white British writers are rarely, if ever, called postcolonial, even though they are writing after the time of colonisation. ‘Postcolonial’ is a term that continues to provoke debate and controversy among readers and writers. Despite this controversy, we use the word postcolonial because it highlights some of the key tensions in this literature. We believe that all contemporary writing in Britain can be thought of as postcolonial.
Is there a writer you’d like to see featured on this website? Let us know.