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About the book
  • Published: 1 September 2010
  • ISBN: 9781407016849
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 272

Foreigners: Three English Lives




From 'one of the literary giants of our times' (New York Times), a brilliant hybrid of reportage, fiction, and historical fact that tells the stories of three black men whose tragic lives speak resoundingly to the place and role of the foreigner in English society.

Francis Barber, 'given' to the great eighteenth-century writer Samuel Johnson, afforded an unusual depth of freedom, which, after Johnson’s death, would help hasten his wretched demise….Randolph Turpin, Britain’s first black world champion boxer, who made history in 1951 by defeating Sugar Ray Robinson, and who ended his life in debt and despair…David Oluwale, a Nigerian stowaway who arrived in Leeds in 1949, the events of whose life called into question the reality of English justice, and whose death at the hands of police in 1969 served as a wake-up call for the entire nation.

Each of these men’s stories is told in a different, perfectly realized voice. Each illuminates the complexity and drama that lie behind the simple notions of haplessness that have been used to explain the tragedy of their lives. And each explores, in entirely new ways, the themes - at once timeless and urgent - that have been at the heart of all of Caryl Phillips’ work: belonging, identity, and race.

Foreigners is among his most powerful, empathic, and profoundly affecting books.

  • Pub date: 1 September 2010
  • ISBN: 9781407016849
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 272

About the Author

Caryl Phillips

Caryl Phillips is the author of numerous acclaimed works of fiction and non-fiction, including the novels Crossing the River (shortlisted for the Booker Prize 1993) and A Distant Shore (winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2004). Phillips has won the Martin Luther King Memorial Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the PEN Open Book Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, as well as being named the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year 1992 and one of the Granta Best of Young British Writers 1993. He has also written for television, radio, theatre and film.

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Praise for Foreigners: Three English Lives

“An immensely talented writer, Phillips resurrects their thwarted hopes in this subtle meditation on identity and belonging, which explores how impossible it is to define the composition of a nation'”

Irish Times

“A subtle meditation on identity and belonging”

Irish Times

“Foreigners is among Caryl Phillips most powerful, empathic, and profoundly affecting books”

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