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Reni Eddo-Lodge interview

Reni Eddo-Lodge interview

The Baillie Gifford Prize 2017 longlist

Reni Eddo-Lodge describes what compelled her to write longlisted book Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race and reveals why she thinks her initial blog post went viral.

What does it feel like to be longlisted?

It was a pleasant surprise as not many of my age and tradition end up here.

What inspired you to write this book?

I needed a book to give to people so they would stop trying to argue with me. It didn’t exist, so I wrote it.

How did you research?

I went through lots of archive material and some out of print books, most of which I found at the British Library and the Black Cultural Archives. I also asked around, and spoke to people close to the issues, some who were active during the more recent historical moments.

For anyone who wants to explore the subject further, which book(s) would you recommend they read?

The bibliography of the book is the ultimate list, but for two suggestions I'd go with are Kimberle Crenshaw's Mapping the Margins and Stuart Hall's Policing The Crisis.

How did it feel when your initial blog post went viral?

I didn’t expect it. It wasn't written with an expectation of wide readership. It was about a particular situation, but in hindsight, I can see why it was widely read - the power dynamics of the situation feel distinctly familiar to people of colour around the world. Take away the specifics and you've got an endless, exasperating loop of a dynamic that has existed long before I was born and will continue long after I'm dead, if we never reach a point of white introspection. In the book I quote Martin Luther King's frustration with white moderates. Toni Morrison has written about racism being a distraction. I'm not the first person to feel this.

What are you working on next?

This book is keeping me very busy! I need a few months off to reflect and think about what's next.


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