8 Books that Capture Caribbean Voices and the Spirit of the Windrush Generation - For Reading Addicts

8 Books that Capture Caribbean Voices and the Spirit of the Windrush Generation

Dominating the news in the UK and around the world this week is the despicable treatment of the Windrush generation, a generation of Caribbean migrants who came to Britain after World War II to provide labour.

The name comes from HMT Windrush, a troopship that brought 492 migrant workers to Tilbury Docks, London on 22nd June 1948. These people were the first to land on our shores, and the name came to mean anyone that arrived in this movement, which lasted until 1971.

As those following the news will know, many of these people have been threatened with, or may have already been deported, due to new hostile immigration policy brought in more recently by the Conservative government. Policy that many people voted for. Policy that has effectively made these people illegal in retrospect.

The whole incident has made me feel pretty ashamed to be British this week, and while I can’t do much about my government’s policy, I can do a little to give voice to this generation, their service to my country and their enrichment of it. So here are eight books that I believe capture the Caribbean voices of that time, and the spirit of the Windrush generation:

The Pleasures of Exile – George Lamming

George Lamming is considered to be one of the most important West Indian emigrant voices of the time and The Pleasures of Exile was his first work of nonfiction, exploring identity, colonialism and what it was to be a West Indian in London.

The Pleasures of Exile US
The Pleasures of Exile UK

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The Lonely Londoners – Sam Selvon

Like many of the novels on this theme, The Lonely Londoners is a semi-autobiographical account of the migrant experience during the 1940s and 1950s. Considered to be one of the greatest London novels of the 20th century, it’s funny, touching and moving.

The Lonely Londoners US
The Lonely Londoners UK

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City of Gold – Colin McInnes

City of Gold is one of the few books on the list that isn’t written by a Caribbean voice but the London Trilogy is an important part of the story. It’s London, 1957 and liberal England is about to learn the legacy of the Commonwealth. A unique and inspiring read.

City of Gold US
City of Gold UK

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The Emigrants – George Lamming

First published in 1954, the Emigrants is an intricate novel following the process of the emigrant journey, settling in, and the exploration of the alienation and displacement caused by colonialism. George Lamming is the only author who appears in this list twice, once for nonfiction, once for fiction, as he’s believed to be one of the most important voices on this period of history.

The Emigrants US
The Emigrants UK

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To Sir With Love – E. R Braithwaite

Rick Braithwaite was an RAF pilot and fought in World War II so when the British Guianan couldn’t find employed in engineering because of the colour of his skin, he was pretty shocked. In desperation he turns to teaching, taking a job in a tough East London school. To Sir with Love is probably the most well known book on the list, and has been made into a movie too.

To Sir with Love US
To Sir with Love UK

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Small Island – Andrea Leavy

Andrea Leavy’s father sailed here in 1948 on the Windrush, and this novel is set around the same time. The only contemporary novel on the list, Small Island is an award winning novel that explores the difficulties in communities, the conflicts that immigration brought and what life was for everyone, whatever their colour, after World War II.

Small Island US
Small Island UK

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Lovers and Strangers – Claire Wills

As well as novels and memoirs, we’ve included a couple of nonfiction reads, specifically about this period in history. The first of these is Lovers and Strangers, Longlisted for the 2018 Orwell Prize. An important book, it gives voice to this generation, and could not have been released at a better time (out 5th April).

Lovers and Strangers US
Lovers and Strangers UK

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Windrush – Mike Phillips & Trevor Phillips

Our second nonfiction for the list and our final book today is Windrush, full of first hand accounts, eye witness perspectives and stories from those affected and embraced by multiculturalism since 1948.

Windrush US
Windrush UK

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The Bestselling Books of the Last One Hundred Years: 1926

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We promised you the best selling fiction of the last one hundred years and we’re up to 1926 now and making great headway. That said, we’ll be a while on this one, we’re a month in and we haven’t even managed 1918-1928 yet!

Already we can see some hot authors and trends appearing and while you may not be familiar with some of the names, we’re expecting some well known contemporary authors to lead the lists later on.

But today, we have the ten top selling books of 1926!

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Barack Obama Reveals His Favourite Books of 2018

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Since leaving the White House in 2017, Barack Obama has occasionally taken to social media to share books, films, and music that he has enjoyed. In late December, Obama took to Facebook to list off the best art that he’s read, watched, and listened to over the past year. Books included in his list consists of Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela, Why Liberalism Failed by Patrick Deneen, and (of course) Becoming by Michelle Obama. Read More

The Bestselling Books of the Last One Hundred Years: 1925

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We promised you the best selling fiction of the last one hundred years and we’re up to 1925 now, but we’re likely to be on this book series for the next few months at least!

Already we can see some hot authors and trends appearing and while you may not be familiar with some of the names, we’re expecting some well known contemporary authors to lead the lists later on.

But today, we have the ten top selling books of 1925!

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Nicola Sturgeon – Best Books 2018

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First Minister of Scotland and SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, has taken a break for Christmas and treated us to her favourite reads of 2018. On Twitter she explained, “Since it’s Christmas, I’m going to indulge myself in some book chat (so look away now if you’re only here for the politics). In the next few tweets, I’ll share the books I’ve most enjoyed in 2018”
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The Bestselling Books of the Last One Hundred Years: 1924

By | Discussion and Recommendations | No Comments
We promised you the best selling fiction of the last one hundred years and we’re up to 1924 now, but we’re likely to be on this book series for the next few months and certainly into the New Year!

Already we can see some hot authors and trends appearing and while you may not be familiar with some of the names, we’re expecting some well known contemporary authors to lead the lists later on.

But today, we have the ten top selling books of 1924!

Read More



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