Bluebird has snapped up Brown Girl Like Me, an “agenda-setting” debut by award-winning spoken word artist and teacher Jaspreet Kaur.
Publisher Carole Tonkinson acquired world English language rights from Florence Rees at A M Heath. Set for publication in autumn 2021, Brown Girl Like Me explores what it is to be a brown, British feminist today and is billed as “a toolkit and call-to-arms for Asian girls and young women”.
The book asks questions including how can you be a brown feminist without rejecting your own culture and why Asian girls form the second highest performing group of students in the country yet aren't reflected in wider institutions.
Its synopsis explains: “The answers to these questions, and many more, will come from Asian women who have thrived despite the odds set against them, from authors to politicians, artists to students, aunties to grandmothers. Jaspreet knows it is paramount that their stories and life lessons are recorded, noted and passed on so future brown girls feel better armed to take on the world. The book will detail Jaspreet’s own life, as well as bringing together academic insight and these wider experiences and will cover topics ranging from mental health to menstruation, education to beauty standards and cultural appropriation to the effect of micro-aggressions.”
Also known as Behind the Netra for her poetry and writing, Kaur is a teacher and spoken word artist from east London. She has performed at prestigious venues, appeared regularly as a commentator on the BBC and “Sunday Morning Live”, and provides workshops and motivational talks. She is an ambassador for The Girls Network and Time to Change, and worked with the UN on their He for She campaign. She won the Asian Women of Achievement Award and the We are the City Rising Star Award in 2017.
She said: “I always wished there was a guidebook on how to deal with growing up brown, female, marginalised and opinionated, but there was no blueprint at the time. This book will be the book that I always wished existed. This book will be a letter to my younger self, and to every brown girl fighting to grasp our own narrative of history and identity. It will explore and challenge existing narratives in a way that has not been done before. This book will give brown women the tools and support to be in the driving seat of their lives and not a mere passenger having their journey decided for them. By hearing the stories of inspirational Asian women from across the UK, this book will empower brown women to take the wheel.”
Tonkinson added: “Jaspreet is a powerful writer and a charismatic speaker and performer. In her book, Jaspreet weaves together a myriad of voices by starting each chapter with a personal anecdote that points to a larger concerns around brown feminism and then she incorporates interviews with others on this theme. The text is rich, layered and bursting with insights and invites dialogue around the themes in the book. We are absolutely thrilled to be working with Jaspreet on this hugely important and necessary book.”