Skip navigation to main content

October’s Monthly Stories and Poems

Written by Lily Kehoe, 17th October 2023

Our Monthly Stories and Poems for October have been chosen to mark Black History Month in the UK, and also to commemorate 75 years since the HMT Empire Windrush arrived in Britain, bringing more than 800 passengers from the Caribbean. The arrival of the Windrush remains a landmark occasion contributing to the Black British experience.

This month’s selections from The Reader Bookshelf are extracts from Small Island by Andrea Levy and A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines, both from the Adult Bookshelf. From the Children and Young People’s Bookshelf, we feature an extract from Freedom by Catherine Johnson and a poem from the collection Courage Out Loud by Joseph Coehlo.

In the featured extracts, we find characters who are moving through times which feel uncertain and challenging in some instances and full of new possibilities in others. We discover that transitions from the present moment into a new space can bring up all kinds of feelings, and a sense of needing to find solid ground and people who can be trusted. Yet, as futures are journeyed towards, it can prove difficult to leave the past behind.

October’s extracts are:

‘The Letter’ (extract from Passing) by Nella Larsen

‘I wanted to do something’ (extract from Freedom) by Catherine Johnson

‘The way the English live’ (extract from Small Island) by Andrea Levy

‘Tanty’ (extract from The Lonely Londoners) by Sam Selvon

‘The Superintendent’ (extract from A Lesson Before Dying) by Ernest J. Gaines

There are different worlds of wondering and observation which open up in the poetry selections for this month, which call to us to take notice, to look closer and think about experiences and perspectives which may be different from our own. Even in difference – between dark and light, sound and silence, fear and courage – we can find threads that connect and bring moments of common feeling.

‘To Know Green from Green’ by Kei Miller

‘Quest’ by Georgia Douglas Johnson

‘Those who can afford time’ by Jason Allen-Paisant

‘Courage Follows Fear’ by Joseph Coehlo – from Courage Out Loud

‘Dissidence’ by Anthony Walton

If you're a Reader Leader head to the Online Community Hub to download this month's selection.

Contact us

Get in touch and be part of the story
You can also speak to us on: 0151 729 2200
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.