My father’s work took us all over the world, then to a British boarding school. The result was a duality that ran through me; this was a sensibility that was very British but at the same time very Indian. This sensibility impacted the way I wrote my novel Begums of Peshawar (Hachette, 2018).
Focusing on the recent revival of critical interest in migration and belonging that, Sara Upstone has spoken of in her work. She comments “Rather than alienation, these novels are seen to offer self-assurance, dwelling rather than diaspora, and a new hybridity less about being “in-between” cultures and more about the fact that culture is now, in essence, "in-between" raises the question of whether such novels deserve their characterization as dynamic 21st-century departures.”
Monica Ali’s novel Brick Lane has characters that question their place in society. Kureshi too has dealt with the theme of belonging in his novel Buddha of Suburbia (1990) and so has Sahota in his book Year of the Runaways (2015). All three novelists come from a dual background. I address themes of double consciousness in their work.
I shed light on hybridity and belonging that the current Brexit climate has also bought about and how this impacts my second novel. Building on the work of other academics I suggest that British Asian authors have a double consciousness that informs their writing and enhances their storytelling throwing up questions of belonging.
Najma Yusufi, University of Brighton, United Kingdom