The Heart of the Race: Black Women’s Lives in Britain

The Heart of the Race is a classic of Black British women’s history. First published in 1985, the book filled in large gaps in British history, which had traditionally neglected the Black experience altogether before belatedly including the perspective of Black men while still largely excluding women. This was the first book to lay out a comprehensive history of Black… Read More

A Steam of Consciousness

As I was writing recently, a slip of the pen turned a stream of consciousness into a steam of consciousness. I quickly inserted the missing “r”, but then it made me think that steam is actually a better metaphor than stream. Consciousness is not like a stream that flows predictably along a set course from its source to its destination…. Read More

August 2020 Reading Roundup

After my quick trip to the UK last month, I’m back in Belgrade again. We made a few stops on our drive back across Europe, but it’s really not a good time to be travelling. It was, nevertheless, a great time to spend a couple of hours strolling around Venice with no crowds. Here’s the Piazza San Marco as you’ve… Read More

I’m Teaching a New Online Writing Class

I was happy to be asked recently to teach an online writing masterclass for Litro, a London literary magazine. I’m teaching a four-week course on breaking writer’s block. In a decade and a half of writing novels, short stories, journalism and other stuff, I’ve learnt a thing or two about facing and ultimately overcoming writer’s block. The idea is to… Read More

The Unsaintly Side of Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi is one of those people whose position as a hero of history is assured. He overcame the most powerful empire on earth with the power of nonviolence. He is immortalised through his quotable epigrams like “Be the change that you want to see in the world” and “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they… Read More

July 2020 Reading Roundup

I’m writing this in the middle of a two-week quarantine in the UK. Don’t worry, I don’t have any Covid-19 symptoms—it’s just a precaution for people arriving from certain “high-risk” countries. Why the UK (with 46,000 deaths) is quarantining people from Serbia (with 500 deaths) could be the subject of another post about the intersection of Covid rules and international… Read More

No, I Don’t Have the Bandwidth Right Now

Something is very wrong with the English language. People have started asking me if I have the “bandwidth” to work on new projects. What am I, a modem? This is part of a broader trend of viewing human beings as machines. When we need a break, we go offline. When we achieve something new, we level up. In a corporate… Read More

How to Write About Suicide and Self-Harm

The UK Society of Authors recently published a new factsheet on writing about suicide and self-harm, and I wanted to highlight it and draw attention to its main lessons. Stories are powerful, and writers consequently bear a heavy responsibility for getting it right and not doing harm, especially when it comes to writing about topics like suicide and self-harm. About… Read More