Most Important Lessons from Brit(ish) by Afua Hirsch

Brit(ish) by Afua Hirsch Book Cover Image

I recently finished listening to the audiobook of Brit(ish) by Afua Hirsch, an exploration of what it means to be mixed-race in Britain that is both broad and deeply personal. A traditional, analytical review felt as though it would somehow detract from the invaluable messages that are at the core of this book. With that in mind, I am instead going to list the 5 most important lessons that I took away from reading Brit(ish).

A Dose of Empowerment: My Top 5 Memoirs Written by Women (Magazine Article)

Top Memoirs Written by Women Cover Image

I wrote this article for 'We Love Memoirs Day' which apparently happens every year on 31st August! It features some of my favourite memoirs by women writers, from Audre Lorde to Raynor Winn. I hope you enjoy reading...

The Corset by Laura Purcell: Feminist Historical Fiction with a Magical Realism Twist

The Corset by Laura Purcell Book Cover Image

Rating: 3.5 stars Genre: Historical fiction Summary: Dorothea has enough of her own worries - trying to continue her studies of phrenology under the disapproving eye of her father, dodging her simpering stepmother-to-be at society balls, and dissuading men with matrimonial hopes. Yet when visiting a woman's prison on charitable errands, she feels drawn to the tragic story of Ruth Butterham, a maid and seamstress condemned to death for the murder of her mistress. Ruth is an enigma, a girl of only sixteen who has already endured a lifetime of suffering. Always refusing to become a victim, this young prisoner holds onto a burning core of vengefulness that allures and repels Dorothea in equal measure. Is Ruth guilty, or is her confession the product of her own disturbing delusions?

Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson: Quirky Lesbian Coming-of-Age Tale

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson Book Cover Image

Rating: 3 stars Genre: Literary, Semi-autobiographical Summary: Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a semi-autobiographical bildungsroman novel that draws upon the author's own childhood and life experiences. In a small Northern town in the 1950s and 60s, Jeanette is being raised by her formidable mother as a good Christian girl who dreams of becoming a missionary. However, after falling in love with one of her female converts, Jeanette embarks on a series of lesbian love affairs that will force her to confront the darker sides of her community. Determined not to choose between her love of women and her calling as a preacher, she must fight to retain her identity, sexuality, and faith intact.

The Confession by Jessie Burton: Emotive Literary Drama

The Confession by Jessie Burton Book Cover Image

Rating: 4 stars Category: Literary fiction Summary: In 1980, Elise follows her lover Connie from London to LA, where Connie's novel is being adapted into a major film. Their stormy love affair will leave its mark on the city. Three decades later, Rose is on the trail of the mother who left when she was a baby. The only clue she has is a book by elusive novelist Constance Holden, who may hold the key to why her mother left everything behind.

Non-Fiction Books to Fortify Your Feminism (Magazine Article)

Empowered Woman Silhouette

July is the anniversary of the first Women's Right's convention, so I thought it would be the perfect time to share this article I wrote about my favourite non-fiction feminist books! Featuring Roxane Gay, Helena Kennedy, Chelsea Kwakye, Ore Ogunbiyi, Michelle Obama and Mariam Khan...

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell: Thriller-Edition Escapism

Rating: 3 stars

Category: Thriller

Summary: When Libby inherits a mansion from the biological parents she never knew, it offers life-changing possibilities and the ticket out of her dead-end job. However, this once-lavish house holds the story of Libby's first months of life, and she can't sell until the truth is uncovered.

A newspaper article records how the house became infamous decades ago, when three adults were found dead in what was suspected to be a cult-related suicide pact. Concerned locals reported children living there too, but their identities were unknown and no trace of them remained. These missing children could be the only family Libby has ever known: the question is whether they want to be found.

The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein: Brave and Compassionate Biography

The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein Book Cover Image

Rating: 4 stars Category: Biography Summary: Sarah Krasnostein first meets Sandra Pankhurst at a forensic services conference, where Sandra is promoting her trauma cleaning company. The lives (and deaths) touched by Sandra through her work, from murder victims to obsessive hoarders, immediately make an impression and inspire Krasnostein to learn more. There is one story, however, that will become the greatest fascination - one that holds all of these other disconnected and diverse lives together. It is the story of the trauma cleaner herself.

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams: Character-Driven, Witty and Vulnerable

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams Book Cover Image

Rating: 4 stars

Category: Literary fiction

Summary:

Following a sort-of breakup with her boyfriend, Queenie enters full rebound mode. But as she trawls dating apps, she soon realises that hooking up is hard enough without the added problem of racial fetishisation. To make things even worse her old-fashioned relatives view therapy as shameful and her boss at the magazine isn’t letting her write about anything she genuinely cares about.

As she bounces haplessly from one poor decision to another, Queenie realises that there’s nothing like hitting rock bottom to give you a whole new set of priorities.

Questioning the Canon: Race and Greek Mythology Retellings

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison Book Cover Image

Much of Ancient Greek culture, including its mythology, was derived from Ancient Egypt and other Afroasiatic civilisations, but this rich tapestry of influences has subsequently been whitewashed.

With this context in mind, I thought I would highlight 3 books by black women writers who reclaim Greek mythology and use it to illustrate the harrowing experiences of enslavement and racism.