Johny Pitts' Afropean wins Bread & Roses Award for Radical Publishing

Johny Pitts' Afropean wins Bread & Roses Award for Radical Publishing

Johny Pitts has won the 2020 Bread & Roses Award for Radical Publishing with his "unique political documentary" Afropean: Notes from Black Europe (Allen Lane). 

The £500 award is supported by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers and recognises excellence in political non-fiction.

The winning title was decided by the guest judges Helena Earnshaw, Angharad Penrhyn Jones and Hsiao-Hung Pai, themselves previous winners of the award, and announced during the online ceremony on Wednesday 23rd September.

Describing Pitts' work, Pai said: “Afropean is a unique political documentary about black experience in Europe. Political writing about the continent’s racialised peoples is much needed and Afropean does it brilliantly by getting up close and personal.”

Earnshaw said the winner was “an extremely readable and richly textured blend of travel, history and politics".

"Johny Pitts views the world with a sharp yet human gaze," she added. "[This is] intelligent, perceptive writing of communities who don't often get a voice. He writes unflinchingly on the nature of the black experience in Europe, yet there is a positivity and warmth in abundance. This is not a book to be rushed but to be savoured.”

Penrhyn Jones said: “This is a multi-layered, lyrical book, combining travel writing with politics, history, memoir and on-the-ground documentary journalism. Johny Pitts challenges us to view Europe through a different lens. Original, moving and deeply engaging, Afropean is a hugely impressive achievement and deserves the widest possible readership.” 

Now in its eighth year, the award's first winner was Debt: The First 5,000 Years, written by the anthropologist and activist David Graeber, who died earlier this month and whose memory and work was remembered at the award ceremony.

Afropean also won the 2020 Jhalak Prize.