Author and Diversity Activist Nikesh Shukla's Essential Reading After 2017
Nikesh Shukla's debut novel, Coconut Unlimited, was published by Quartet Books and shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2010 and longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2011. His second novel, Meatspace, was published by The Friday Project in 2015. Nikesh is the editor of the essay collection, The Good Immigrant, where 21 British writers of colour discuss race and immigration in the UK. He currently hosts The Subaltern podcast, an anti-panel discussion featuring conversations with writers about writing.
As 2017 comes to an end, what book could you suggest that people read to reflect on this year’s tumultuous events and why do you recommend it?
I predominantly read books by people of colour in 2017, mostly because, in a tumultuous year, I wanted to read, support and get to know my community more, and also read more widely.
Reni Eddo-Lodge's Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race was an incredible piece of work – so skilfully, adeptly and perfectly written to open up a much needed conversation about who gets to centre themselves in conversations about race.
I also really enjoyed two short story collections that followed the lives of immigrants in America: The Refugees by Viet Thanh-Nguyen was at times hard and at times soft, at times sad and at times visceral, and occasionally dreamy.
Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang was riotous and in places really poignant.
I adored poetry collections by Ocean Vuong and Kayo Chingonyi – both were about trying to find your place in a world that others you. In times of chaos and political upheaval, these books offered salvation through new and exciting voices.