The Book of Birmingham

Edited by Kavita Bhanot

Few cities have undergone such a radical transformation over the last few decades as Birmingham. Culturally and architecturally, it has been in a state of perpetual flux and regeneration, with new communities moving in, then out, and iconic post-war landmarks making way for brighter-coloured, 21st century flourishes. Much like the city itself, the characters in the stories gathered here are often living through moments of profound change, closing in on a personal or societal turning point, that carries as much threat as it does promise.

Set against key moments of history – from Malcolm X’s visit to Smethwick in 1965, to the Handsworth riots two decades later, from the demise of the city’s manufacturing in the 70s and 80s, to the on-going tensions between communities in recent years – these stories celebrate the cultural dynamism that makes this complex, often divided ‘second city’ far more than just the sum of its parts.


'A stellar portrayal of one of the UK's finest cities known for the radical transformation it has undergone during the previous decades.' - Anglozine

'Sharon Duggal read first from her story, Seep... Oh it just put me exactly in the room with her fish out of water protagonists, it was beautiful and stunning and intimate and beyond it foretold of the thrills and spills ahead which I can only contemplate from afar now. I was actually excitedly transported far into her world.' - OutsideLeft

'Seamless interaction of spaces – physical, social and emotional – create the best compendiums, and is why these particular titillating segments – illuminating “snapshots of people’s lives” as described by Duggal– make such powerful comment.' - Sunetra Senior for Asian Voice
'Each story in The Book of Birmingham provides its own rich, textured, and complex history of the city post-WWII to the present. Thoughtfully assembled, each story is well positioned, leading into the next, advancing the reader forward in time and allowing them to gain a deeper insight into the diversity of lives that have been lived in Birmingham. The collection, additionally, enables the reader, even one who may be completely unfamiliar with the city (such as myself a New-York native), to truly envision the changing face of Birmingham.' - Jenn Augustine for Rewrite London
'Each place is made up of such specificities, of many worlds that can’t be generalised about, can’t be easily understood. Each place is made up of these countless worlds, which are often invisible to those outside them, contained to some extent, although never entirely.'  Read Kavita Bhanot, editor of 'The Book of Birmingham' write about the city's complex identity for The Irish Times
Read 'Kindling' by Jendella Benson at For Books Sake

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Book Details

21 Sep 2018