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October’s Stories and Poems

Written by Lily Kehoe, 11th October 2022

We’re celebrating Black History Month by showcasing a selection of stories, extracts and poems by black authors in October’s Monthly Stories and Poems pack.

Our exploration of The Reader Bookshelf 2022-23 and its theme of Light and Darkness continues. This month, we introduce extracts from Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Red Dust Road by Jackie Kay.

We visit America, Nigeria and Scotland in this month’s choices of stories and extracts, where personal experiences are shaped and influenced by the wider world, as well as imagination. For one young woman, complicated emotions arise from strained relationships within the family; for a woman in her forties, the quest to discover her roots after being adopted brings forth many varied feelings. The generation gap features in two short stories, working to have quite different effects on younger and older people. Individual trauma meets wider conflict, with hope emerging as fractured identities find an opportunity to strengthen as a new horizon dawns.

October’s stories and extracts are:

‘Something precious and frightened’ (extract from Half of a Yellow Sun) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

‘Oreo’ by Brandy Colbert

‘The Lesson’ by Toni Cade Bambara

‘Thank You M’am’ by Langston Hughes

‘Fantasy Africa’ (extract from Red Dust Road) by Jackie Kay

This month’s poems make different journeys, moving through time and generations as well as physical landscapes. There is memory and remembrance of what has come before, celebration of the present and trepidation for a future not yet arrived. We discover that it is possible to inhabit multiple identities, and that good can be salvaged from times of difficulty.

‘October Journey’ by Margaret Walker

‘Ships That Pass in the Night’ by Paul Laurence Dunbar

‘Black Joy’ by Koleka Putuma

‘Sound Machine’ by Raymond Antrobus

‘I Will Keep Broken Things’ by Alice Walker

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

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