What we're about

A group for BAME people and those who want to enjoy and discuss books and work produced by POC /BAME writers and creatives in a safe and inclusive space. A monthly book club, and trips to theatre, cinema, and author events.

The books will usually be selected a few months in advance, but suggestions at meetings will be taken into account for future book choices.

The discussion will be semi-structured with questions and discussion points. Members are welcome to add their own questions.

Finally, a few things to note about this group:

* Whilst it is open to all readers, due to the choice of books selected for reading, the discussions will no doubt touch on particular topics and issues, some of which may be quite personal to some (i.e. race, colourism, marginalised identities). As such, it would be appreciated if those of us who hold positions of privilege could ensure we come with an awareness of that privilege and try not to dominate the discourse when we would all be better served by listening and allowing others to express themselves.

* Whilst we can all learn from each other, please don’t expect that people from particular backgrounds (Black, Asian, Latino etc) are here to educate you on race or culture. The internet is your friend here. There are a plethora of Black, Asian, Latino, and other ME writers, activists, academics, and journalists tweeting, writing, researching, and educating on these issues - find them (and pay them for the work they’re doing 🤷🏽‍♀️).

* I have used the terms BAME/POC for this group to give a general idea of the content of the books and events, please remember that we are talking about people and writers from vastly different backgrounds, experiences, countries, and cultures. As such when referring to individual writers please use more specific terms i.e. Black, Asian, Haitian, Nigerian, Japanese, Cuban.

* Finally, please leave any #notall statements and fragile egos at home.

Upcoming events (5)

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

The Heights Bar

Tsukiko is in her late 30s and living alone when one night she happens to meet one of her former high school teachers, 'Sensei', in a bar. He is at least thirty years her senior, retired and, she presumes, a widower. After this initial encounter, the pair continue to meet occasionally to share food and drink sake, and as the seasons pass - from spring cherry blossom to autumnal mushrooms - Tsukiko and Sensei come to develop a hesitant intimacy which tilts awkwardly and poignantly into love. Perfectly constructed, funny, and moving, Strange Weather in Tokyo is a tale of modern Japan and old-fashioned romance. Review 'With its flying-waitress cover and kooky title, this Japanese novel - shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize - hints at Murakami-style weirdness. ... Delicate marks of the passing seasons reveal Kawakami's frank debt to classical Japanese poetry, while the odd couple's shared meals will tickle foodie palates. An elegiac sense of speeding time, and yawning distance, drizzles the story - sensitively translated by Allison Markin Powell - with a sweet sadness.' --Boyd Tonkin

The Good Immigrant USA

The Heights Bar

An urgent collection of essays by first and second-generation immigrants, exploring what it's like to be othered in an increasingly divided America. From Trump's proposed border wall and travel ban to the marching of White Supremacists in Charlottesville, America is consumed by tensions over immigration and the question of which bodies are welcome. In this much-anticipated follow-up to the bestselling UK edition, hailed by Zadie Smith as 'lively and vital', editors Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman hand the microphone to an incredible range of writers whose humanity and right to be in the US is under attack. Chigozie Obioma unpacks an Igbo proverb that helped him navigate his journey to America from Nigeria. Jenny Zhang analyzes cultural appropriation in nineties fashion, recalling her own pain and confusion as a teenager trying to fit in. Fatimah Asghar describes the flood of memory and emotion triggered by an encounter with an Uber driver from Kashmir. Alexander Chee writes of a visit to Korea that changed his relationship to his heritage. These writers, and the many others in this singular collection, share powerful personal stories of living between cultures and languages while struggling to figure out who they are and where they belong. By turns heartbreaking and hilarious, troubling and uplifting, the essays in The Good Immigrant USA come together to create a provocative, conversation-sparking, multivocal portrait of America now. Essays from: Porochista Khakpour Nicole Dennis-Benn Rahawa Haile Teju Cole Priya Minhas Walé Oyéjidé Fatimah Asghar Tejal Rao Maeve Higgins Krutika Mallikarjuna Jim St. Germain Jenny Zhang Chigozie Obioma Alexander Chee Yann Demange Jean Hannah Edelstein Chimene Suleyman Basim Usmani Daniel José Older Adrián Villar Rojas Sebastián Villar Rojas Dani Fernandez Fatima Farheen Mirza Susanne Ramírez de Arellano Mona Chalabi Jade Chang *This book will be released in March

If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

The Heights Bar

The inspiration for the new film from Oscar award-winning director Barry Jenkins 'Achingly beautiful' Guardian Harlem, the black soul of New York City, in the era of Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles. The narrator of Baldwin's novel is Tish nineteen, and pregnant. Her lover Fonny, father of her child, is in jail accused of rape. Flashbacks from their love affair are woven into the compelling struggle of two families to win justice for Fonny. To this love story James Baldwin brings a spare and impassioned intensity, charging it with universal resonance and power. 'If Beale Street Could Talk affirms not only love between a man and a woman, but love of a type that is dealt with only rarely in contemporary fiction - that between members of a family' Joyce Carol Oates Review If Beale Street Could Talk affirms not only love between a man and a woman, but love of a type that is dealt with only rarely in contemporary fiction - that between members of a family (Joyce Carol Oates) Soulful . . . Racial injustice may flatten "the black experience" into one single, fearful, constantly undermined way of life-but black life, black love, is so much larger than that . . . It's one of the signature lessons of Baldwin's work that blackness contains multitudes ( Vanity Fair)

June Meetup - Book TBD by vote

The Heights Bar

This month’s book will be decided by vote based on recommendations from members. Further details will be posted/emailed shortly.

Past events (6)

The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon

The Heights Bar

Photos (2)

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