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October’s Stories and Poems

Written by Rachael Norris, 6th October 2020

This month’s stories and poems have been chosen to mark Black History Month, showcasing work from black authors and poets from the 19th century to the current day, as well as reflecting the experiences and lives of black people and communities across the world.

In the chosen short stories and novel extracts, we visit a range of countries and personal situations – from children playing games on the street and experiencing personal loss, to two young women making new lives for themselves in very different ways, and two matriarchs in a community where family is of utmost importance. Love, grief, dreams, ambition and survival are just some of the universal themes touched upon in these selections.

The Underground Railroad (extract) by Colson Whitehead

‘Double Men’ by Namwali Serpeli

‘Nine Nights’ by Ionie Richards

We Need New Names (extract) by NoViolet Bulawayo

‘Atlantic Crossing’ by Jeanette Winterson

Through this month’s poems we think about issues of identity, succeeding against the odds, making space for yourself in the world and striving for something more, whether that be within ourselves or finding a place to feel at peace.

‘Beyond the Veil’ by Timothy Thomas Fortune

‘won’t you celebrate with me’ by Lucille Clifton

‘For Clara’ by Malika Booker

from ‘Citizen’ by Claudia Rankine

‘After the Winter’ by Claude McKay

If you're a Reader Volunteer, all of September’s selections can be downloaded from the Online Community Hub here.

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