Thursday, 28 April 2016
Extract from the introduction to the book...
Hey. We filed the book yesterday. 21 writers, amazingly, pulled together an entire book in just over three months. It was hard fucking work, my friends, I'm not going to lie. Here is another not-lie. It's the best bloody book I have ever worked on. Really. It is unbelievably good. I'm going to do you a blogpost next week, telling you more about what's in the book, who's written what and what you can expect. Before I do, I'd like to share with you two things.
Firstly: the cover
Secondly, I'd like to share an extract from the introduction/editor's note on the book. Ready?:
'This book emerged out of a comment on a Guardian article. I know, I know, it’s easy to say, don’t read the comments. But I do. Because I want to know my enemy. The commentor took umbrage at an interview a journalist had done with five authors (including me) about their writing process. The journalist, Asian, had interviewed five or six people of colour. The commentor wondered why there wasn’t a more prominent author interviewed for this piece. He supposed (for it is almost always a ‘he’) that perhaps we were all friends of the journalist, given we were all mostly Asian. This constant anxiety we feel as people of colour, to justify our space, to show that we have earned our place at the table, continues to hound us. For, while I, and the 20 other writers included in this book, don’t want to just write about race, nor do we only write about race, it felt imperative, in the light of that comment (and the many others like it), the backwards attitude to immigration and refugees, the systemic racism that runs this country to this day, that we create this document, of what it means to be a person of colour now. Because we’re done justifying our place at the table.
For people of colour, race is in everything we do. Because the universal experience is white. Another comment (yes, yes I know) on a short story I once wrote, was pleasantly surprised to see Indians going through the universal experience. Much as I was surprised I was excluded by the universal experience, it hammered home the knowledge that the universal experience is white. This book collects 21 universal experiences: feelings of anger, displacement, defensiveness, curiosity, absurdity – we look at death, class, microaggression, popular culture, access, free movement, stake in society, lingual fracas, masculinity, and all manner of universal experiences.'