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

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-06-07 17:23Z by Steven

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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Black Shamrocks: Accommodation Available – No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2016-06-07 17:05Z by Steven

Black Shamrocks: Accommodation Available – No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
482 pages
15.2 x 2.8 x 22.9 cm
Paperback ISBN-13: 978-1523490912

Gus Michael Nwanokwu

While many academics and social scientists have examined the psychological and societal implications of growing up as a mixed-race person, few works exist that chronicle the actual lived experience of navigating life while juggling two cultures and racial identities.

Gus Nwanokwu seeks to fill this literary void with Black Shamrocks, a powerful memoir of life as a half-Nigerian and half-Irish boy in London and the in the 1960s and 70s.

The son of a Biafran-Nigerian father and an Irish mother, Nwanokwu experiences from a tender age the harsh realities of racism, classism, and anti-immigration sentiments and bigotry in post-colonial England.

Despite the high hurdles and the abject poverty into which he and his siblings were born, Nwanokwu rises above the challenges, pursues an education, and spends his life giving back as a teacher and contributing to the betterment of society.

With keen insights about the nature of the challenges he faced, Nwanokwu’s coming-of-age memoir deftly explores his attempts to balance black and white, poverty and pride, love and violence, irreverence and respect, joy and pain, justice and injustice, and misery and satisfaction against the backdrop of a rapidly changing world.

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