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22 June 2020

Bristol is the focus of this week’s Persephone Post. It is a city much in the news because of its admirable toppling of the Colston statue: obviously one cannot in general approve of people going around toppling statues but in this case its removal had been under discussion for years, nothing had been done and one can only admire the group of brave and efficient people who removed it.  But Bristol is also in the news because of an excellent series currently on BBC2: in A House Through Time David Olusoga traces the history of a an early eighteenth-century Bristol house in a fascinating and un-clunky way. Here is a piece about the programme and here is a Guardian piece about the toppling of the statue and its world-wide ramifications. At Persephone Books we can do nothing but applaud from the sidelines. We would like to do more and indeed people often write to us and ask if we are going to publish a novel by a Black or Asian writer and we always respond by saying that we want to very much indeed and could they recommend one that fits in with our remit of (mainly) mid C20th, (mainly) women writers; we are convinced we shall find one eventually. Meanwhile we applaud the conclusion to the Guardian article: ‘Many are glad Colston is no longer spoiling their visits to the city centre and there is also some pride that the actions of a Bristol crowd prompted soul-searching elsewhere. “Bristol was one of the first cities to catch on to the slave trade and it made a vast fortune… It is therefore fitting that this city has started a debate about racism and history.”’ The picture that the Guardian used to illustrate this comment needs to words.

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