Below is a further reading list about Windrush. In it, you will find an eclectic mix of novels, poetry, plays and non-fiction publications, compiled with the help of Peepal Tree Press, who publish Caribbean and Black British fiction, poetry, literary criticism, memoirs and historical studies.

NOVELS, POETRY & PLAYS


Small Island 
Andrea Levy (Hachette UK)

A delicately wrought and profoundly moving novel about empire, prejudice, war and love, Small Island was the unique winner of both the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Whitbread book of the Year, in addition to the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize and the Orange Prize ‘Best of the Best’.

Andrea Levy was born in England to Jamaican parents who came to Britain in 1948. After attending writing workshops when she was in her mid-thirties, Levy began to write the novels that she, as a young woman, had always wanted to read – entertaining novels that reflect the experiences of black Britons, which look at Britain and its changing population and at the intimacies that bind British history with that of the Caribbean.


In Praise of Love and Children
Beryl Gilroy (Peepal Tree Press)

After false starts in teaching and social work, Melda Hayley finds her mission in fostering the damaged children of the first generation of black settlers in a deeply racist Britain.

Born in what was then British Guiana, Beryl Gilroy moved to the UK in the 1950s. She was the author of six novels, two autobiographical books, and she was a pioneering teacher and psychotherapist, becoming London’s first black headteacher. She is considered “one of Britain’s most significant post-war Caribbean migrants”.


The Lonely Londoners - 
Sam Selvon (Penguin Modern Classics)

Both devastating and funny, The Lonely Londoners is an unforgettable account of immigrant experience – and one of the great twentieth-century London novels.

In 1950, Sam Selvon left Trinidad for the UK where, after several hard years, he established himself as a writer.


Eldorado West One
Sam Selvon (Peepal Tree Press)

These seven one-act plays dramatically bring to life some of the characters who first appeared in Selvon’s classic novels of exile, The Lonely Londoners and Moses Ascending. Dreams, schemes, summer gaiety and winter disappointments: the experiences of the parents and grandparents of the Black British children of today are portrayed with Selvon’s characteristic humour and poignancy.

Kitch - Anthony Joseph (Peepal Tree Press)

Born into colonial Trinidad in 1922 as Aldwyn Roberts, ‘Kitch’ emerged in the 1950s, at the forefront of multicultural Britain, acting as an intermediary between the growing Caribbean community, the islands they had left behind, and the often hostile conditions of life in post War Britain. In the process, Kitch, as he was affectionally called, single-handedly popularised the calypso in Britain, with recordings such as ‘London is the Place for Me’, ‘The Underground Train’ and ‘Ghana’.

Anthony Joseph is a musician and writer. He is the author of four poetry collections: Desafinado, Teragaton, Bird Head Son and Rubber Orchestras, and a novel, The African Origins of UFOs.

Escape to an Autumn Pavement - Andrew Salkey (Peepal Tree Press)

Johnnie Sobert is a brown Jamaican who earns his living as a barman in a Soho club. Sobert is a man divided: between Black and White; between class identities; between heterosexual and homosexual desires; between being an exiled Jamaican and an incipient Black Londoner.

Andrew Salkey was born in Colon, Panama in 1928 of Jamaican parents. He was brought up in Jamaica by his mother and grandparents. He left to attend the University of London in 1952, where he did a BA in English. He taught in school and worked as a broadcaster for the BBC on the Caribbean Voices programme. He was deeply involved in the Caribbean Artists Movement.

Another Crossing - Khadijah Ibrahiim (Peepal Tree Press)

Another Crossing is a marvellous collection of poems that tell the stories of an individual life, of a family, of the communities of Chapeltown and Harehills, and of crucial moments in the making of Leeds as a place where cultures meet.

Khadijah was born in Leeds of Jamaican parentage. She is a poet and theatre maker, and a GCF Creative Associate Artist. She is also a project producer on this project.

NON FICTION

Windrush - Mike Phillips and Trevor Phillips (HarperCollins)

Broadcaster Trevor Phillips and his novelist brother Mike retell the very human story of Britain’s first West Indian immigrants and their descendants from the first wave of immigration in 1948 to the present day.

Don't Stop the Carnival - Kevin Le Gendre (Peepal Tree Press)

Telling the story of Black British Music and the people who made it, from Tudor times to the mid ‘60s.

Kevin Le Gendre is a journalist and broadcaster and writer with a special interest in black music.

Against the Grain: A 1950s Memoir - E. A. Markham (Peepal Tree Press)

The memoir of poet, playwright, novelist and academic, E.A. (Archie)  Markham. When he came to London in 1956 from his native Montserrat, Markham’s ambitions were to make it as a writer or pop singer, and at the same time, fulfil family expectations to become a scholar and academic. Unfortunately the young Archie’s attempts to combine elements of Little Richard and the now forgotten Jim Dale never found the success he was convinced they deserved and it has been in less lucrative fields that Markham established his reputation as a ‘nimble-footed, silver-tongued’ poet, critic and fiction writer.

The Front Room - Michael McMillan (Black Dog Press)

The Front Room is a unique study by author Michael McMillan of the position of the home in different migrant groups. McMillan draws upon memories of his relatives’ homes in the 1960s and 1970s to show a representation of his vision of the traditional West Indian front room and the symbolism of particular objects.

Homecoming: Voices of the Windrush Generation - Colin Grant (Penguin Books)

Homecoming draws on over a hundred first-hand interviews, archival recordings and memoirs by the women and men who came to Britain from the West Indies between the late 1940s and the early 1960s. In their own words, we witness the transition from the optimism of the first post-war arrivals to the race riots of the late 1950s.

Colin Grant is a historian and author of four highly praised books. He is an Associate Fellow in the Centre for Caribbean Studies, and teaches creative non-fiction writing, most recently for Arvon and Sierra Nevada College.

Learning Resources

The Windrush Foundation has produced a 150-page learning resource, suitable for planning lessons for KS2 and KS3. They have also created a book with profiles of 70 Windrush pioneers and champions. You can request this from their website

Return to Windrush Learning Resource 

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