Thamima and Matilda, VIII, discuss this recently-launched group.
Last Thursday saw the launch of the Decolonised Reading Group, run by Mr Donkor & Miss Hardy. We discussed Jay Bernard’s award-winning poetry collection, Surge. Bernard’s writing memorialises the 1981 New Cross house fire, in which thirteen young Black people were killed during a party. While there had recently been significant far right violence in the area, the police inquiry failed to yield results and was viewed by the Black community as yet another instance of institutional racism. Bernard’s poetry explores the resonances of the tragedy with the 2017 Grenfell fire and interrogates the way deep historical trauma is processed, embodied and remembered. Yet Surge also presents Black British identities beyond oppression, such as the interplay between concealment and pride in queer sexual identities. Bernard’s distinctive poetic style incorporates rhythm and melody to evoke the interweaving strands of joy, struggle and pain of the Black British community. You can find out more about the New Cross Fire here and watch a reading of Songbook here.