Little, Brown has offered every London secondary school a free copy of Lee Lawrence’s Costa-winning biography The Louder I Will Sing (Sphere) following the unveiling of a memorial to Lee’s mother, Cherry Groce, in Windrush Square, south London.
The Louder I Will Sing tells the story of Cherry, who was wrongfully shot by police in her home in 1985, sparking the Brixton Riots in south London, and of her son, Lee, who witnessed the shooting aged 11. Cherry Groce died in April 2011 having spent 26 years in a wheelchair. A statue created in tribute to her was unveiled on Sunday (26th April).
“The book follows Lee’s family’s struggle in the aftermath of the shooting, Lee’s experiences growing up as a young Black man in London in the shadow of that day, and his long fight to achieve justice for his mum,” Sphere said. “Not only did he eventually manage this, he now works with the police to try to find ways to bridge the gap between the police force and the community. It is a beautiful, hopeful story about what the future could hold, as well as facing up to what has happened in the past – and is continuing to happen in the present.” The Louder I Sing won the Costa Biography Award back in January.
The publisher added: “Lee is committed to spreading the story of what happened to his mother in the hope it will prevent it from happening again, and to inspire the police force of tomorrow to work with communities rather than against them. Little, Brown is also committed to this mission, and hopes the offer of books to London secondary schools will help communicate this worthy objective and its significance to a very important audience.” The book will be donated in collaboration with Hodder Education.
Emily Barrett, editorial director, said: “We are all so proud of Lee and The Louder I Will Sing at Little, Brown. Whilst we’re usually in the business of selling books, there are times when what’s most important is spreading the word and this is one such occasion. Little, Brown and Hachette – especially through our Changing the Story initiative [making it a more accessible workplace for those from all backgrounds] – want to act in innovative ways to reach new audiences with stories that can make a difference.
"I am so glad we have been able to do this to mark the memorial unveiling – a valuable new statue at a time when so much discussion is taking place around the relevance of those already in existence. I hope the memorial and the book will both do their part in keeping the memory of Cherry, and her legacy, alive for a long time to come.”
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