Foreword: migration, modernity and English writing: reflections on migrant identity and canon formation - Tate Research Repository
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Foreword: migration, modernity and English writing: reflections on migrant identity and canon formation

2006

Abstract

My name is Mike Phillips and I’m a novelist among other things. You may not know that I am a United Kingdom citizen, and you may not know that I do not think of myself as a Caribbean writer, or an African writer, or an African American writer, or a diasporic writer, or even as a writer with an ambiguous stance somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic. No such luck. I think of myself as an English writer, and all of this seems simple enough, except that I also think of myself (and I often describe myself) as a black British writer. In this last persona, however, I am perpetually and consistently confronted by a specific difficulty, which is to do with a perceived disjunction between who I am and my identity as a writer. I want to point to the nature of the difficulty by quoting you an email I received recently from a woman, who described herself as being of Jamaican/Scottish parentage, and who was writing a PhD, which she described as - largely devoted to a discussion of issues for mixed race people in this country not least the historic invisibility, and the pressure to identify as a single, specific race that tends to come from people outside of the experience of being racially mixed.

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