Mixed race author on the struggle of having to ‘pick a side’

Mixed race author on the struggle of having to ‘pick a side’

The Voice

Davina Hamilton, Entertainment Editor

LIFETIME OF LOVE: Gus and sister Chi-chi with their parents Michael and Margaret

Author Gus Nwanokwu on growing up with a Nigerian father and Irish mother in 1960s Britain

THE PRESSURE to ‘pick a side’, the struggle to find acceptance, and the sense of alienation are issues that have been addressed by many academics when examining the mixed race experience.

But rarely has the subject of mixed race identity been chronicled through literature, by authors who have lived the experience. Gus Nwanokwu seeks to fill this void with his new book, Black Shamrocks – a powerful memoir, in which he charts his experiences as a mixed race child in post-colonial England.

Growing up in London in the 1960s and 70s, Nwanokwu would often see the ‘No blacks, no dogs, no Irish’ signs hanging in the windows of rented accommodation. The experience was all the more poignant for the youngster, as he was born to an Irish mother and Nigerian father.

“My parents met at the Hammersmith Palais in 1955,” Nwanokwu explains. “Mum was collecting her coat as she was about to leave when my dad walked in. He was instantly smitten and persuaded her not to leave, but to accompany him to the dance floor. They stayed together forever after that point.”…

Read the entire article here.

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