Postcolonial Writers Make Worlds

Postcolonial Writers Make Worlds

Postcolonial Writers Make Worlds asks how our reading of British literature shapes our sense of identity in Britain today. We are particularly interested in thinking about how Black and Asian writing in Britain works as a dynamic cultural and imaginative medium through which new ways of thinking about Britain, and Britain in the world, can be worked out.

How does this dynamic of entering new worlds play out in our reading? We believe that when we as readers move into the thought-world of a novel or poem, we discover both new and unfamiliar things in it. We bump into stories and identities that both correspond to and depart from our own. And this prompts us to reflect on where we stand in relation to our societies and communities.

In this sense writers – all writers – are making and shaping worlds with their writing. But Black and Asian British writers confront a particular challenge in doing so. First, their voices have until recently often been overlooked and misheard, including by the publishing industry. Second, if they are of migrant or second-generation backgrounds, they sometimes have to compose the new cultural and linguistic environments in their work from scratch, or by ear, using whatever materials are at hand.

These writers draw us as readers into exciting new worlds and invite us to ask particularly interesting and often difficult questions about ourselves. Their work asks us to think about whether we identify as mainstream or marginal, national or international, local or global, north or south. And they ask us about how and when we might flip these opposites over, how we might look at the world in a more heterogeneous and expanded way. It is along these lines that our reading of BAME writing shapes our sense of ourselves in Britain today.

Writers Make Worlds Website