The Soho Book Club: Courttia Newland’s African diaspora reads
The author, screenwriter and playwright shares four powerful novels to get acquainted with this month
Wednesday 26 October 2022 By Soho House
Each month, we’re asking brilliantly bookish people from within the Soho House community to select the reads they’re devouring right now. For October, Courttia Newland – the British Caribbean writer – who co-wrote Steve McQueen’s five-part anthology series, Small Axe – reveals his favourite heartfelt novels.
1. Wounded by Percival Everett
This author is best known for his Booker shortlisted novel, The Trees, but if you dip into his back catalogue the classics are endless. It’s hard to pick a fave of Everett’s, but this one, set in Wild West country, full of pathos, humour and heart, is up there. You’re in for a real treat.
2. Losing The Plot by Derek Owusu
Full disclosure: Owusu is a stable mate and friend; still, he’s also an award-winning writer and podcaster, and this hybrid novel is a hell of an achievement. Playing with form and expectations, the book is an homage to a mother’s life, as well as the chronicling of an immigrant’s journey. Amazing stuff.
3. A Tall History Of Sugar by Curdella Forbes
A sweeping epic set in Jamaica and London, following two exceptional children, Forbes conjures a world where magic realism is simply realism in a language that’s rich and powerful. I raced through this book, and you will too.
4. Three Rooms by Jo Hamya
Set in 2018 in the year before the General Election, Three Rooms charts a young woman’s attempt to make her way in the world. Through work, rented accommodation and politics, Hamya paints a vivid state of the nation story that highlights who we were, and how we got here. A quiet, understated epic.
Courttia Newland’s latest book, A River Called Time, which was shortlisted for The Arthur C. Clarke Award Science Fiction Book of the Year 2022, can be ordered here.