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The University of Southampton

Successful black writers tell their stories

Published: 28 November 2011Origin: English
Delia Jarrett-Macauley

Two high profile guests helped the Faculty of Humanities mark Black British History Month by speaking to around 80 students and staff about their work.

Writer and broadcaster Delia Jarrett Macauley won the 2005 Orwell Prize for her novel on child soldiers in Africa called "Moses, Citizen and Me". She has also written a biography of Una Marson, who was probably one of the earliest black broadcasters on the BBC in the 1930s and 40s. Delia was impressed by Una's drive and determination and the way the woman from the small community of Jamaica succeeded in London at a time of considerable prejudice.

Earlier in October, journalist and screenwriter Adeola Solanke explained the role of black writers and actors on television soaps; her talk was followed by a general discussion. The questions covered a range of issues to do with race, representation, the UK and American television and film industries and media-related careers.

Dr Will May was one of the organisers of British Black History Month at the University. He says many black writers still feel they have to work against stereotypes in their work. "Delia spoke of her struggles to get her biography published, publishers first said no-one would be interested in the story," he says. "Adeola is often called upon by white scriptwriters on series such as Eastenders who want to reflect the experiences of black families in the drama."

The events were set up by Godfrey Brandt, Director of the Diverse Arts and Artist Communities Association in Southampton.

To listen to an interview with Delia or a report on the whole event please click on the links to the right of this page.



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