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Review

An Evening with Kamal Ahmed

Arts Richmond

Duke Street Church - 15 November 2018

An Evening with Kamal Ahmed

 

Review by York Membery

Former BBC Economics editor Kamal Ahmed lifted the lid on what it was like to grow up ‘brown’ in 1970s Britain during a fascinating Richmond Book upon Thames Literature Festival event last week.

In a well-attended Arts Richmond talk, the high-profile television correspondent, who’s just been apppointed the editorial director of BBC News, told how he had ‘spent my first 40 years trying to fit into my country’.

Speaking in front of an audience at  Duke Street Church, Richmond, the 51-year-old said he had written his memoir, The Life and Times of a Very British Man, because he felt he had ‘something to say about identity’ in today’s multi-cultural Britain.

Ahmed, who grew up ‘not a million million miles away from Richmond’ in Ealing, told of how he was the product of a marriage between a Devon-raised mother and a Sudanese father ‘who in their own small way changed Britain forever’.

As a boy, he was so desperate to fit in that when he got a paper round he even told the shop owner that his first name was Neil rather that Kamal. ‘Then one day the newsagent tried to phone me at home, and when he asked to speak to Neil, my mother replied: “Who?!”’ observed Ahmed wryly.

In between reading extracts from his book, Ahmed admitted that ‘there were many experiences of being black in Britain’, but added that he nonetheless hoped his memoir would help ‘a country that has struggled to understand immigration and race’.

end

 

York Membery
07946 421771
 

 

Former BBC Economics editor Kamal Ahmed lifted the lid on what it was like to grow up ‘brown’ in 1970s Britain during a fascinating Richmond Book upon Thames Literature Festival event last week.

In a well-attended Arts Richmond talk, the high-profile television correspondent, who’s just been apppointed the editorial director of BBC News, told how he had ‘spent my first 40 years trying to fit into my country’.

Speaking in front of an audience at  Duke Street Church, Richmond, the 51-year-old said he had written his memoir, The Life and Times of a Very British Man, because he felt he had ‘something to say about identity’ in today’s multi-cultural Britain.

Ahmed, who grew up ‘not a million million miles away from Richmond’ in Ealing, told of how he was the product of a marriage between a Devon-raised mother and a Sudanese father ‘who in their own small way changed Britain forever’.

As a boy, he was so desperate to fit in that when he got a paper round he even told the shop owner that his first name was Neil rather that Kamal. ‘Then one day the newsagent tried to phone me at home, and when he asked to speak to Neil, my mother replied: “Who?!”’ observed Ahmed wryly.

In between reading extracts from his book, Ahmed admitted that ‘there were many experiences of being black in Britain’, but added that he nonetheless hoped his memoir would help ‘a country that has struggled to understand immigration and race’.

 

 


 

 


The Life and Times of a Very British Man

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