I feel so depressed when I hear: ‘We have to go back to being English.’ What’s that, for heaven’s sake? Those are just words, they don’t give any meaning … Whatever our political agenda, there is still a huge amount of people coming to Europe, because there is so much conflict, drought, global warming … we can’t just be a little fortress. We got to change our mindset and not feel threatened by new cultures coming in … I don’t believe in suppressive cultures.
Do you want to come with us to the Hymalayan mountains?
Jamila Gavin is a writer who was born to an Indian father and an English mother, but she has lived most of her life in the UK. Jamila was one of the first authors to start writing multicultural literature, and she decided to focus on children. Her most recent publications include the Surya Trilogy and Coram Boy. In this interview, we discuss the importance of offering children stories and books in which they can see themselves, no matter where they come from or what their culture is. We also talk about the UK as a multicultural place, the importance of travelling as an inspiration, nationalism and those cases when you feel you belong to more than one culture. I think that this is something that happens a lot, but it’s not talked about enough. So I am very grateful I could chat with someone like Jamila, who has such an established career in writing. I think her experiences and her advice are incredibly valuable and I can’t thank her enough for sharing them with us.
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