I'm Black So You Don't Have to Be

Colin Grant


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Vintage Publishing
25 January 2024
ISBN: 9781529918366
256 pages

From the publisher

A memoir told through a series of intimate portraits, which build into a poignant, insightful and unforgettable testimony of West Indian British experience.


'Grant is a natural storyteller... Compelling and charming'
BERNARDINE EVARISTO, author of Girl, Woman, Other

'Grant's most revealing work'
'I'm black, so you don't have to be,' Colin Grant's uncle Castus used to tell him. If Colin - born in Britain to Jamaican parents - worked hard and became a doctor, his race would become invisible; he would shake off the burden his parents' generation had carried. The reality turned out to be very different.

This is a memoir told through a series of intimate portraits, including of Grant's mother Ethlyn, his father Bageye, his sister Selma, and his great uncle Percy. Each character we meet is navigating their own path. Each life informs Grant's own shifting sense of his identity. Collectively, these stories build into an unforgettable testimony of black British experience.