Colin Grant | I’m Black So You Don’t Have To Be
Sat 22 Apr 2023 | 12:00pm - 1:00pm
‘I’m black, so you don’t have to be,’ Colin Grant’s uncle Castus used to tell him. For Colin, born in Britain to Jamaican parents, things were supposed to be different. If he worked hard and became a doctor, he was told, his race would become invisible; he would shake off the burden he believed his parents’ generation had carried. The reality turned out to be very different.
Now a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and director of Writers Mosaic, Colin introduces his new memoir I’m Black, So You Don’t Have To Be, which is told through a series of intimate intergenerational portraits. We meet Colin’s mother Ethlyn, disappointed by working-class life in Luton, who dreams of returning to Jamaica; his father Bageye, a maverick and small-time ganja dealer with a violent temper; his sister Selma, who refashioned herself as an African princess; his great uncle Percy, estranged from his family through his own pride. Each character we meet is navigating their own path. Each life informs Colin’s own shifting sense of his identity.
Join Colin for an unforgettable exploration of family, identity, race and generational change.
In conversation with writer, editor and festival angel, Mary Nathan
Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage (Old Divinity School)
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Colin Grant’s books include Bageye at the Wheel, short-listed for the Pen Ackerley Prize, and Homecoming: Voices of the Windrush Generation, a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and director of Writers Mosaic. Grant writes for a number of newspapers including the Guardian, Observer and New York Review of Books.