Decolonise your bookshelf with Deirdre Osborne

Joining us this Wednesday is Dr Deirdre Osborne, who will be helping to guide our BookTalk on Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other. Dr Osborne is a co-founder of Goldsmith’s MA Black British Literature and editor of Cambridge Companion to British Black and Asian Literature (1945-2010) (2016). Her latest book is This is the Canon: Decolonise Your Bookshelf in Fifty Books with Joan Anim-Addo and Kadija Sesay (Hachette, 2021).

To introduce her work, we’re sharing a couple of short clips of Dr Osborne discussing Black literature and decolonisation. This first interview was made to contextualize the publication of the Cambridge Companion to British Black and Asian Literature (1945-2010). In it she talks about how she first became involved with Black British writers, discusses the impact of Black and Asian voices on the English language and culture.

In this more recent film, Dr Osborne appears with Kadija Sesay, one of her co-editors on This is the Canon: Decolonise Your Bookshelf in Fifty Books. Here they introduce their concept of decolonisation and some of the books they chose for their alternative literary canon, including Eden Robinson’s Monkey Beach and Edwidge Danticat’s Breath, Eyes, Memory.

This is the Canon suggests that the aim of decolonisation, in a literary context at least, is a process of widening our horizons and adding new perspectives to our thinking – or even allowing readers to experience the energy and liberation of literature for the first time.

More on This is the Canon: Decolonise Your Bookshelf in Fifty Books, including interviews with the authors, and a more thorough discussion of decolonisation in literature, can be found in this short article at OpenDemocracy: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/decolonisation-jane-austen-book-this-is-the-canon

Dr Deirdre Osborne will be discussing Barnardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other with Dr Suzanne Scafe on Wednesday 15 June 2022. The event is free and open to all via Zoom. Book your place via Eventbrite at the link below: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cardiff-booktalk-girl-woman-other-registration-310957932547

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