This anthology of stories and poems by twelve BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) writers contains ‘as many BAME UK YA voices … as the rest of the industry combined’ according to one of its authors, Aisha Bushby. To address this woeful lack of diversity, four new voices join eight established writers in exploring different aspects of change, from the personal (entering adolescence, falling in love) to the global (Brexit, the refugee crisis).
‘The Elders on the Wall’ launches the collection with a choice: whether to try and fit into the world or change it. A young person stares at the top of a wall where ‘the elders smirk’. Should the viewer try and climb it, or ‘chip away at each brick’, or ‘turn and run from the crowd’ to ‘lands that even maps dare not touch’?
The other contributions both chip and turn, offering new perspectives such as that of William Darby who, in the nineteenth century, fought racism and snobbery to become the first non-white British circus owner. In ‘A Refuge’, Sabrina negotiates the tension in her parents’ marriage as they volunteer at a refugee camp where, to her surprise, she finds friendship and hope. Nathalie is the ‘Iridescent Adolescent’ who inherits her mother’s gift of flying, while in ‘Fortune Favours the Bold’ Zaibah encounters racism after a terrorist attack in Britain: ‘please don’t be another Muslim,’ she prays on hearing the news.
By offering different viewpoints, this challenging, inspiring anthology will deepen intercultural understanding and empathy between teen and YA readers and show that our common humanity transcends differences of colour, culture or nationality.
Mary Bello, Aisha Bushby, Tanya Byrne, Inua Ellams, Catherine Johnson, Patricia Lawrence, Ayisha Malik, Irfan Master, Musa Okwonga, Yasmin Rahman, Phoebe Roy and Nikesh ShuklaPublisher: