Tag Archive > immigrant experience

From There to Here

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From There to Here: The 2nd Decibel Penguin Prize Anthology: 16 True Tales of Immigration to Britain, book reviewDecibel was an initiative set up by the Arts Council of England to promote the work and raise the profile of artists of African, Asian, Chinese and Caribbean descent who live in England. In cooperation with the publishers Penguin, a writing prize was set up in 2005 called (not surprisingly) the Decibel Penguin Prize. As well as offering an annual prize for the best novel by a qualifying writer, they organised non-fiction writing competitions, requesting personal accounts of the immigrant experience and gathering the best of them into anthologies.

I’m sure some people will find it ironic (or perhaps amusing depending on their point of view) that the prize fell foul of the Commission for Racial Equality in 2007. The CRE ruled that by restricting the geographic origins of the writers, the prize was – for want of a better adjective – racist. The prize was widened to include ALL writers who are immigrants to Britain and this book – From There to Here – is the second anthology created by Decibel and Penguin and the first that post-dates the change in the rules.


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Tyler Gets Dug In

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Digging to America By Anne TylerLife is full of happy accidents and meetings that develop into more than could ever have been anticipated. There are people you meet completely randomly who go on to become important in your life in unpredictable ways. Such is the case for two Baltimore couples and their extended families in Anne Tyler’s “Digging to America“. Both couples are childless and both have opted to adopt a girl child from Korea. Other than that they have little in common.

Bitsy and Brad Dickinson-Donaldson are a wholesome all-American couple. She’s into home weaving and wearing odd sack-cloth dresses made from fabric she’s woven herself. She has an opinion on anything and everything and no hang-ups about expressing those especially on the topic of childcare. You get the impression she’s read every book on bringing up baby ever written. Anxious to cling to her baby’s Korean roots, Bitsy doesn’t change her daughter’s name – she was and always (until the child says differently) will be Jin-Ho.

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