Another Mother of a Book

A Review of The Mothers, by Brit Bennett.

On the back cover of The Mothers, by Brit Bennett, Roxane Gay is quoted as saying “The Mothers has stayed with me since I first read it….”. It stayed with me too. It was one of those books I had to sit with for a moment after I turned the last page. For a novel set around a church community, if felt almost prayer-like when I finished it. I had to sit and reflect on it, in silence, with respect.

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Sisterhood – inspired by Chimamada Ngoze Adichie

A fortnight ago, I disrupted my Sunday evening writing routine to celebrate one of my very favourite authors, Chimamada Ngozi Adiche. She, deservedly, won the Women’s Prize for Fiction’s Winner of Winners Prize for her stunning novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, and gave a live interview, from Lagos, to thousands of admirers via Zoom.

On top of the glorious readings of some of her passages, and her captivating descriptions of Nigeria, where her inspiration, research, and personal experiences come from, I was touched by some of the other messages she had for us.

Female relationships, were a special element to Chimamanda’s interview and this is what I would like to reflect on for this week’s blog.

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Trustee Me

So this week was a great week! I was appointed as Trustee for Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature for Equality and Diversity.

Myself and two fellow new Trustees, inspirational women who I can’t wait to meet, are bringing new perspectives to this charity that has already achieved so much as it celebrates its fifth anniversary. It’s a time when Nottingham is bursting with creativity, and also a time that the world needs a little more help to stay positive, inspired and empowered.

I’ve been following The Nottingham City Of Literature for a while. It’s an organistion I admire, for many reasons, all very meaningful to me. Focused on inspiring and supporting the people of my home town, its aim is to “build a better world with words”. I couldn’t think of a more praise worthy goal. It’s one I truly believe in and one I genuinely feel is possible.

This week’s blog is in celebration of this excellent organisation and what “building a better world with words” means to me.

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See It to Be It

To celebrate the first female, mixed heritage, Asian, African Caribbean vice President of the United States being officially in post (three cheers for Kamala Harris!), today’s blog has to be about representation.

Knowing that my daughter will watch the news and see a little of herself in the Vice President of the United States is hard to describe. It’s comforting, reassuring, empowering, exciting and more, because she is represented.

So why is representation so important?

Here are the top five reasons from my point of view…..

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Black is the new Black

By now I think you all know that I’m only reading books written by Black authors for a year. I celebrate it almost every day on Instagram and do a little dance every time I discover a writer of colour I wouldn’t have otherwise heard of. I’ve read some brilliant books and have at least three on the go at any one time nowadays.

Well, it’s got me thinking about other areas of my life, where I’ve followed the crowd, and the crowd has followed the norm, and the norm has been White. There are plenty of areas that could do with a little Black equity.

When I’m in the mood to treat myself, there are two shopping categories I gravitate towards. Number one, books (no surprise there) and number two, fashion.

How many items of clothing do you think I’ve bought from Black fashion designers? Please, please, please don’t let this be true……but I have a horrible feeling it might be none.

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Save me! Save me! (Said no one, ever.)

“Me and White Supremacy” has been without doubt the most important book and I’ve read this year. It’s helped me make sense of how we’ve got to where we are in the world. Importantly for me, it’s put a name to experiences and conditions that people of colour find themselves in every day. The simple act of reading about a particular, uncomfortable feeling and confirming that it’s actually “a thing” is empowering. It’s opened up real conversations.

I’ve wanted to write a review of this book from the moment I finished it, but it’s a daunting task, because it’s so important, and so fundamental to my person growth. I would hate to do it a disservice.

So I’m breaking it down into sections to share my own views on certain elements. Starting with “White Saviourism”.

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