Advertisement
Books

Top 5 books about the Windrush Generation, chosen by author Paul Mendez

Author Paul Mendez, whose debut novel Rainbow Milk has been nominated for the Polari First Book Prize 2021, chooses his top five books that tell the stories of the Windrush Generation.

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

Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez is out now (Little, Brown, £13.99). It is shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize 2021. Tickets are available for the winner’s announcement at London’s Southbank Centre on October 30.
Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez is out now (Little, Brown, £13.99). It is shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize 2021. Tickets are available for the winner’s announcement at London’s Southbank Centre on October 30.

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. 

Advertisement
Advertisement

Imperial Intimacies: A Tale of Two Islands by Hazel V Carby

Carby is one of the world’s leading academics on race, gender and African/African American studies.

In Imperial Intimacies, she retraces her history, as the child of a white British woman and Jamaican father, while examining the sexist, classist conventions working-class British women have endured. 

Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez is out now (Little, Brown, £13.99). It is shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize 2021. Tickets are available for the winner’s announcement at London’s Southbank Centre on October 30

This article is taken from the latest edition of The Big Issue magazine. If you cannot reach local your vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue today or give a gift subscription to a friend or family member. You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play.

Advertisement

Bigger Issues need bigger solutions

Big Issue Group is creating new solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunities for the 14.5 million people living in poverty to earn, learn and thrive. Big Issue Group brings together our media and investment initiatives as well as a diverse and pioneering range of new solutions, all of which aim to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. Learn how you can change lives today.

Recommended for you

Read All
The Perfect Golden Circle review: Not just another take on the cultural fights of the ’80s
Book reviews

The Perfect Golden Circle review: Not just another take on the cultural fights of the ’80s

Book reviews: Vladimir by Julia May Jonas and Either/Or by Elif Batuman
Book reviews

Book reviews: Vladimir by Julia May Jonas and Either/Or by Elif Batuman

Sandra Newman's The Men: A crunchy and compelling dystopia
Book reviews

Sandra Newman's The Men: A crunchy and compelling dystopia

David George Haskell: What my grandfather taught me about birdsong
Books

David George Haskell: What my grandfather taught me about birdsong

Most Popular

Read All
All the places where kids can eat free during the summer holidays
1.

All the places where kids can eat free during the summer holidays

This Twitter bot is exposing celebrities taking three-minute private jet flights
2.

This Twitter bot is exposing celebrities taking three-minute private jet flights

Will free school meals and vouchers be offered over the summer holidays?
3.

Will free school meals and vouchers be offered over the summer holidays?

Estate agents caught saying they don't rent homes to people on benefits
4.

Estate agents caught saying they don't rent homes to people on benefits

Keep up to date with the Big Issue. The leading voice on life, politics, culture and social activism direct to your inbox.