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Radical books for children and adults

PN surveys the winners and shortlists of two British radical book prizes

ImageThese are the winners and the shortlisted books for two British radical book prizes given by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers.

The Little Rebels’ Children’s Book Award is a radical fiction award for readers aged 0–12. This year the award has been administered by Letterbox Library and Housmans Bookshop.

The winner for 2019, announced on 10 July, is Freedom by Catherine Johnson (Scholastic): ‘There’s no escape – even when you escape. Where can a slave like Nat to run to? Forced to leave his family and move to England with his master, Nat can see only one silver lining. He’s heard that once a slave sets foot on English soil, they’re free. So Nat travels across half the world, from Jamaica to England. But when he arrives, he finds the rumour is false. He’s still a caged bird. Unless he runs.… A short, powerful and richly imagined historical novel exposing the UK’s often overlooked participation in the slave trade.’

This is the rest of the shortlist for 2019:

  • The Ghosts & Jamal by Bridget Blankley (Hoperoad Publishing): ‘Waking up in the aftermath of a terrorist attack, 13-year-old Jamal tries to piece together what has happened while simultaneously trying to evade capture by the attackers.’
  • Across the Divide by Anne Booth (Catnip Publishing): ‘When a new army cadets unit opens near her school, Olivia wants to join, causing turmoil both at home and at school.’
  • Running on Empty by SE Durrant (Nosy Crow): ‘Round and round the Olympic Park, aiming for the cross-country trials, running to escape, AJ only seems to be heading ever closer to disaster.’
  • The King who Banned the Dark by Emily Haworth-Booth (Pavilion Books): ‘But what happens when nobody can sleep, and the citizens revolt?’
  • Tomorrow by Nadine Kaadan (Lantana Publishing): ‘A beautiful picture-book full of heart, and not without hope, set against the backdrop of the Syrian war.’
  • The New Neighbours by Sarah McIntyre (David Fickling Books): ‘When new neighbours move in to the tower block, what will the other residents of Pickle Rye think?’

Bread & Roses

ImageThe winner of the Bread & Roses Award for Radical Publishing was announced on 12 June: Europe’s Fault Lines: Racism and the Rise of the Right by Liz Fekete (Verso). ‘It is clear that the right is on the rise, but after Brexit, the election of Donald Trump and the spike in popularity of extreme-right parties across Europe, the question on everyone’s minds is: how did this happen?

‘An expansive investigation of the ways in which a newly configured right interconnects with anti-democratic and illiberal forces at the level of the state, Europe’s Fault Lines provides much-needed answers, revealing some uncomfortable truths.

‘Old racisms may be structured deep in European thought, but they have been revitalised and spun in new ways: the war on terror, the cultural revolution from the right, and the migration-linked demonisation of the destitute “scrounger.” Drawing on more than three decades of work for the Institute of Race Relations, Liz Fekete exposes the fundamental fault lines of racism and authoritarianism in contemporary Europe.’

This is the rest of the Bread & Roses shortlist for 2019:

  • Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala (Two Roads): ‘A searing modern polemic from the BAFTA- and MOBO-award-winning musician and political commentator.’
  • Can We All Be Feminists?: Seventeen writers on intersectionality, identity and finding the right way forward for feminism edited by June Eric-Udorie (Virago): ‘Established and emerging writers from diverse backgrounds explore what feminism means to them in the context of their other identities.’
  • Revolting Prostitutes: The Fight for Sex Workers’ Rights by Juno Mac and Molly Smith (Verso): ‘Sex workers Juno Mac and Molly Smith bring a fresh perspective to questions that have long been contentious.’
  • Lights In The Distance: Exile and Refuge at the Borders of Europe by Daniel Trilling (Picador): ‘A portrait of the refugee crisis, seen through the eyes of the people who experienced it first-hand.’
  • Alt Right: From 4chan to the White House by Mike Wendling (Pluto Press): ‘Includes exclusive interviews with members of the movement and evidence linking extremists with terror attacks and hate crimes.’
Topics: Culture