What’s in a name? More than we can imagine

by Millie Sansoye  There’s a famous quote in Act 2 of Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet, when Juliet asks, ‘What’s in a name?’. The answer to that question is much more complicated than any of us could’ve ever imagined. You’ll probably look at my name at the top of this article and wonder what I could… Read More

Living in two languages

Worlds of late bilingualism by Hanan Omar A Ben Nafa Living in two languages is an art form, often times a highly skilled balancing act and one with personal and social consequences.[1] Those of us who are bilingual work harder and this cognitive, emotional and social labour is too often overlooked and undervalued. For example,… Read More

‘The harmonious interweaving of different languages – an everyday reality for us third culture kids’

by Christina Fonthes  THE CROWS PLUCKED YOUR SINEWS is a one woman play “about Somalis in Britain and Britain in Somalia”. The piece – written and directed by Hassan Mahamdallie with the assistance of Jamil Dhillon – explores colonialism and empire, politics, and ‘culture and tradition’ through the eyes of young British-Somali – Suuban –… Read More

Decolonise, not Diversify

by Kavita Bhanot Since the recent failure of World Book Night to include any writers of colour in its 2015 list, there has been a fresh bout of conversation about the need for more ‘diversity’ in the literature that is published and awarded in Britain, as well as amongst those working in publishing. Alongside a… Read More

Breaking tongues: carrying names across borders

by Sinthujan Varatharajah  I was named Sinthujan, a holy river for Hindus that in today’s Pakistan kills hundreds during the floods. However, neither that river, its Sanskrit origin or the subcontinent’s partition really mattered to my parents. Sinthuja is a common Tamil name given to girls. It’s a name that has survived decolonisation and nationalism’s drive… Read More

Liberté, égalité, fraternité and a few ‘Nigger Heads’ please: linguistic bigotry in France

by Guilaine Kinouani My sister once recounted the following story. She was in a boulangerie in Paris (where we lived) queuing up for her pain of the day when it became the turn of the White woman in front of her to be served. There is nothing unusual to report in this scene except perhaps… Read More

Home truths, or Swedish for beginners

by Mara Lee The fundament of home is the community and the feeling of belonging. The good home doesn’t know of any privileged or left out people, no pets, and no stepchildren. Here, nobody looks down on one another. Nobody tries to obtain advantages at somebody else’s expense. The strong neither oppresses nor plunders the… Read More

“Playing the Race Card”: A Transatlantic Perspective

by Ahmed Olayinka Sule  What do Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, Diane Abbott, Serena Williams and Oprah Winfrey have in common? Besides being black public figures, they have all been accused of playing, using or pulling the race card. According to Wikipedia, “Playing the race card is an idiomatic phrase that refers to exploitation of either racist… Read More

On The Other End Of A Joke – British stand-up comedy

by Anthony Anaxagorou Last November, in an interview with London Real, I spoke briefly on the subject of British stand-up comedy and my discontent with what much of it represents. When the interview was uploaded to the channel’s 82,000 subscriber network, my thoughts on the subject seemed to attract a wave of inarticulate and misjudged… Read More