Joint winners of the Bread & Roses Award 2018 announced

3 Jun

‘Familiar Stranger: A Life Between Two Islands’ by Stuart Hall (with Bill Schwarz)
and
‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’ by Reni Eddo-Lodge
joint winners of the Bread & Roses Award for Radical Publishing 2018

In a first for the Bread & Roses Award, the guest judges have given this year’s prize to two books, ‘Familiar Stranger: A Life Between Two Islands’ by Stuart Hall (with Bill Schwarz) and ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’ by Reni Eddo-Lodge.

The award is given by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers (ARB) and was presented to Bill Schwarz  by guest judge Joan Anim-Addo, at the London Radical Bookfair on Saturday 2nd June.

Bread & Roses Award Trustee, Nik Gorecki, on the sharing of the award.“The decision to share the award was predicated on the notion that these two exceptional books compliment one another so well, offering two different approaches and levels of insight into the inter-relational dynamics of racism.

Stuart Hall drew on a lifetime of experience and academic learning to offer a subtle yet complex perspective on empire, colonialism and identity. Reni Eddo-Lodge’s direct writing style captures the immediacy of political discourse in the social media age, and unflinchingly turns a spotlight on the too-often unacknowledged manifestations of racism across society. The two books together provide readers with a rich inter-generational and inter-sectional narrative of black British experience and analysis.”

Guest judge Katharine Quarmby on ‘Familiar Stranger’

“Familiar Stranger is an outstanding memoir which, with considerable subtlety, marries together memoir with politics, providing readers with a brilliant analysis of the many discontents of colonialism. This posthumous account, written with Bill Schwarz, gave a beautiful sense of point and counterpoint throughout the book.

The chapters on Hall’s childhood were particularly strong in delineating the many complexities of race and class as identity is created – and the sections on the Windrush generation and their descendants heartbreakingly poignant, in the light of what is happening now.There can be no better guide to the intricacies of navigating British identities after the fall of empire than this book.”

Guest judge Joan Anim-Addo on ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’

“Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m no Longer Talking to White People About Race is a wonderful and timely book that dares to speak honestly to the contemporary moment in Britain, one that is increasingly characterised by young people, black and white, wanting to understand as fully as they can the society in which they live. While that society is of course multi-racial, the quality of life for too many people continues to be affected by the reality of race, or more accurately, racialised thinking in its varied guises.

Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m no Longer Talking to White People About Race, in addressing – so unflinchingly – this concern with race, stands within a radical, though largely hidden tradition of black writing in Britain. Where, for example, Robert Wedderburn had travelled with his Axe Laid to the Root in the nineteenth century and Linton Kwesi Johnson, notably with his Inglan is a Bitch in the twentieth century, Reni Eddo-Lodge, a young, home-grown, Black British woman of the twenty-first century now stands. Why I’m no Longer Talking to White People About Race must rightly be recognised for its radical work.

Kudos, too, to its publisher and the nameless person who quietly in the background refused to consent to the usual gatekeepers and fought for this book to be published. This book is direct. It is clear. It makes no excuses about its political positioning – black, intersectional, feminist – and it brings us all that much closer to the very necessary dialogue that we really need to have about race and that we must no longer sidestep.”

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