English Teacher Celebrates Black Writers this Black History Month

October is Black History Month so we spoke to our A level English Teacher Hannah about which black writers and authors her students will be studying over the next month and beyond.

Hannah understands the importance of reading outside your own bookshelf, so wanted to encourage her students to read authors from a range of backgrounds and ethnicities to help broaden further their knowledge and understanding of both literature and human experience, than they would get by just reading the same authors who dominate the English curriculum.

Her students were set the task of going away and researching black writers and finding out more about their work and their lives. Read on for the writers and poets who inspired the students as well as some of the authors Hannah has selected for them to study this year.

Book cover of Noughts & Crosses by Marlorie Blackman. The background is what and there is an outlined illustration of a young man and a filled in illustration of a young black woman about to kiss. The title is written in red and black writing with the authors name underneath.

Malorie Blackman CBE

Malorie Blackman is a British writer who was the Children’s Laureate from 2013 – 2015. She mainly writes books and drama for children and young adults, using science fiction to explore social and ethical issues. Her books include the Noughts and Crosses series, Pig Heart Boy, Hackerand Chasing the Stars.

Find out more here > https://www.malorieblackman.co.uk/





Book cover of "Poor" by Caleb Femi. The background is in white and the word "Poor" is in capital letters in white on a piece of black torn paper. The authors name is in black in the top right hand corner underneath a review quote. In the bottom right hand corner is the Penguin Books logo, featuring an illustrated penguin in an orange circle.




Caleb Femi

Caleb Femi is a poet, filmmaker and photographer who was born in Kano, Nigeria but moved to London when he was a child. The former English teacher was named as the first Young People’s Lauareate for London in 2016, which gave him the opportunity to work with young people on a city, national and global level.

Using film, photography and music Femi pushes the boundaries of poetry both on the page, in performance and on digital mediums. He has written and directed short films commissioned by the BBC and Channel 4 and poems by the Tate Modern, The Royal Society for Literature, St Paul's Cathedral, the BBC, the Guardian and many more.

Find out more> https://www.calebfemi.com/

Book cover of "The Hate U Give" by Angie Thomas. Black background with a young black woman's face in profile with the title written in white over the top. The authors name and a quote from John Green are written in pink lettering. There is a pink circle with "Now a Major Motion Picture" in the top left hand corner.



Angie Thomas

Angie Thomas is a YA writer whose 2017 debut novel and #1 New York Times bestseller, The Hate U Give, follows sixteen year old Starr who lives between two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, The Hate You Give has been made into a film, and Angie published her second YA novel, On the Come Up in 2019.

Find out more here >https://angiethomas.com/





Romona Lofton, better known by her pen name Sapphire, is an American poet and author. Her debut novel Push, about an obese, illiterate 16-year-old girl who lives in Harlem with her abusive mother, was made into the Academy and Golden Globe nominated film “Precious” in 2009. Sapphire has since published a number of novels and collections of poetry including The Kid, American Dreams and Black Wings and Blind Angels.

James Baldwin

James Baldwin was an American novelist, playwright, essayist, poet and voice of the American civil rights movement. He is known for his novels Go Tell it on the Mountain, Another Country, If Beale Street Could Talk, and essays including Notes of a Native Son.


Dr Maya Angelou

Dr Maya Angelou was an American poet, memoirist and civil rights activist who died in 2014. Angelou published published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. Angelou is best known for her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which tells of her life up to the age of 17.

Find out more here > https://www.mayaangelou.com/


Akwaeke Emez

Akwaeke Emez is an Igbo and Tamil writer and video artist who was a 2018 National Book Foundation ‘5 Under 35’ honoree. Their adult novel The Death of Vivek Oji was a New York Times bestseller and their debut YA novel PET was a finalist in the 2019 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Emezi’s debut autobiographical novel Freshwater has been translated into twelve languages and was long-listed for, amongst others, the Woman’s Prize for Fiction.

Find out more> https://www.akwaeke.com/biography


Alice Walker

Alice Walker is an American novelist, short story writer, poet and social activist, most famous for her 1982 novel The Colour Purple for which she won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Walker also wrote the novels Meridian, By the Light of My Father’s Smile and the Third Life of Grange Copeland.

Find out more> https://alicewalkersgarden.com/


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National Centre for Diversity Top  100 2016
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