6 weeks: 21, 28 June; 5, 12, 19, 26 July
Fridays: 10.30 – 12.30
Course code: 18TON395
In 1948, HMT Empire Windrush brought one of the first large groups of post-war West Indian immigrants to the United Kingdom, carrying 1,027 passengers on a voyage from Jamaica to London. This six week course looks at a selection of key writers who explore the experiences of these migrants from the so-called “Windrush Generation”. Sam Selvon’s novel The Lonely Londoners was one of the first to focus on poor, working-class blacks following the enactment of the British Nationality Act 1948. In The Final Passage, Caryl Phillips explores the Caribbean diaspora through the lives of a young family from a small island of the British West Indies who decide to join the 1950s exodus to the “mother country”.
Following a study of these key novels we will move on to Moon on a Rainbow Shawl, a 1957 play written by Trinidadian actor-playwright Errol John. Described as "ground-breaking" and "a breakthrough in Britain for black writing”, the play, set in Port of Spain, Trinidad, was revived in London in 1988 directed by Maya Angelou. We will then go on to examine a selection of poems by Benjamin Zephaniah, considering the position of the second-generation immigrant before finishing with two novels by female authors: Small Island by Andrea Levy and White Teeth by Zadie Smith.
Week 1: Sam Selvon, The Lonely Londoners
Week 2: Caryl Phillips, The Final Passage
Week 3: Errol John, Moon on a Rainbow Shawl
Week 4: Benjamin Zephaniah, Selected Poems (handout)
Week 5: Andrea Levy, Small Island
Week 6: Zadie Smith, White Teeth
This course is suitable for beginners, intermediates or advanced students. This course allows you to spend time exploring a subject for interest, among like-minded people, without formal assessment.
Intended learning outcomes
By the end of the course students will be able to:
- engage with a selection of works by writers of the Windrush Generation in the context of their lives and experiences.
- examine the selected texts in the light of their socio-historical context.
- interpret literary texts in a critical way, illustrating arguments with carefully chosen examples.
- demonstrate knowledge through the construction of critical arguments and present and defend those arguments.
About the tutor
Sarah Anthony studied for her Masters degree with the Open University specialising in postcolonial nineteenth century literature. For the last 12 years she has taught undergraduate students and adult learners in courses ranging from Shakespeare to the postmodern. She currently teaches for the University of Kent and the WEA.