Here are five must-read books about the Windrush Generation, chosen by author Paul Mendez.
The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon
A vital, often hilarious, snapshot of the Windrush Generation settling into Brixton in the 1950s. Moses Aloetta, an Afro-Trinidadian, provides our perspective, having become the go-to man for new arrivals unaware of the hardships they’ll face.
Small Island by Andrea Levy
This prize-winning novel examines how the docking of SS Empire Windrush in 1948 affected two couples, one Jamaican, one British. Funny, moving and full of historical detail, including the “brown baby problem” that shamed British authorities.
Escape to an Autumn Pavement by Andrew Salkey
The first example we have of queer Black British fiction. Johnny is a Jamaican bartender working in Soho.
Too well educated for the seedy bar and not white enough for the British establishment, his is a subtle study of the disillusionment many Caribbean-born nationals faced as the truth of British life sank in.
Black Teacher by Beryl Gilroy
Another unfairly forgotten text that has been recently resurrected. Gilroy was one of Britain’s first Black headteachers, and her memoir charts the challenges she faced, earning acceptance by fellow teachers and parents alike.