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  • Published: 3 October 2019
  • ISBN: 9781473559981
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

Homecoming

Voices of the Windrush Generation




An unforgettable portrait of a generation, which brilliantly illuminates an essential and much-misunderstood chapter of our history.

'A remarkable oral history of black postwar British life. Homecoming is an extraordinary and compelling book' Daily TelegraphHomecoming 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. We hear from nurses in Manchester; bus drivers in Bristol; seamstresses in Birmingham; teachers in Croydon; dockers in Cardiff; inter-racial lovers in High Wycombe, and Carnival Queens in Leeds. These are stories of hope and regret, of triumphs and challenges, brimming with humour, anger and wisdom. Together, they reveal a rich tapestry of Caribbean British lives.

Homecoming is an unforgettable portrait of a generation, which brilliantly illuminates an essential and much-misunderstood chapter of our history.

** A BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week****A Daily Telegraph Book of the Year**

  • Published: 3 October 2019
  • ISBN: 9781473559981
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

About the author

Colin Grant

Colin Grant is a historian and author of four highly praised books: Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey (2008), I and I: The Natural Mystics Marley, Tosh and Wailer (2011), Bageye at the Wheel (2012), and A Smell of Burning (2016). 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.

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Praise for Homecoming

A remarkable oral history of black postwar British life… Homecoming is an extraordinary and compelling book in which the memories of bus drivers, civil servants, engineers, nurses, RAF and army recruits, teachers, shop stewards and seamstresses jostle with those of journalists, musicians, novelists and poets... The recovered memories in Homecoming are a formidable challenge to those still nostalgic for a lost empire, to all who cling to narrow and parochial definitions of Britishness... The voices in Homecoming sing throughout the book but they also reverberate pain, for so many are recounting stories they do not want to remember.

Hazel V Carby, Daily Telegraph

Grant is the writer to do justice to [the Windrush Generation’s] lives… he has conducted dozens of interviews, dug into the Mass Observation archives, and combed through semi-forgotten oral histories from the 1960s to produce this anthology of submerged lives that prickles with beautiful, comic and brutal details.

Sukhdev Sandhu, Observer

Drawing on scores of first-hand accounts, Colin Grant offers oral history at its finest.

Bel Mooney, Daily Mail

Hundreds of first hand interviews, archive footage and memoir extracts of the Windrush Generation, beautifully edited into a patchwork quilt of experience and heritage. It's so powerful hearing these voices direct, making for a hopeful and angry, joyful and tear-jerking read.

Grazia

[Grant] lets people speak for themselves… there is much to enjoy. Some of the memories are painful, some are joyous, others are much more ambivalent.

Clive Davis, The Times

The Windrush generation’s voices are rarely heard, but Grant’s anthology is informative and funny, a well-researched window into a vanished world.

Sarah Hughes

[An] impressive work of oral history.

BBC History

Colin Grant has interviewed and collected nearly 200 voices from [the Windrush] era, from all walks of life, including policemen and fascists. It's quite a feat.

Bernardine Evaristo, i Newspaper

The structure of Homecoming gives its subjects space to speak for themselves, with each vignette providing a glimpse into little known history… Grant’s collection of voice…exposes effectively the cruel logic of Britain’s legacy of domination.

Renni Eddo-Lodge, Guardian

Interesting and nuanced.

Literary Review

[A] superb oral history… Interspersed with social commentary and pages of sprightly autobiography.

Ian Thomson, Tablet

In Homecoming… Colin Grant collates fragments from several hundred interviews, first-hand and archival, with a cross-section of Caribbean immigrants to Britain from the 1940s and early 60s, and allows his subjects to speak for themselves in idiosyncratic statements that refuse to be co-opted into a generalized account of immigrant experience… A fascinatingly varied tapestry emerges of why people came, what they made of it when they got here, and how they related both their Caribbeanness and their blackness.

Lloyd Bradley, Times Literary Supplement

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