Manuscript drafts of Andrea Levy’s Small Island

Description

These are Andrea Levy’s working drafts for Small Island showing the evolution of the chapter in which qualified teacher Hortense sets out for a job interview. She permits Gilbert to guide her to the offices of the education authority where, to her shock and dismay, she is dismissed out of hand for being Jamaican. Her shame is compounded when she tries to exit through a broom cupboard, a humiliation that begins to melt Hortense’s frostiness towards her new husband Gilbert as he comforts her in her disappointment. Hortense’s failure to get a teaching job in England was based on the experience of Levy’s mother Amy.

Levy’s 2004 novel interweaves the stories of Jamaican migrants Gilbert and Hortense, their white English landlady, Queenie, and her husband Bernard. Told from these four different perspectives, the novel explores their hopes and expectations of life in post-war London and the complications that arise between them as their worlds change. The book was partly inspired by Levy’s parents: her father Winston who came to Britain from Jamaica on the Empire Windrush and his wife Amy who followed in November 1948.

Small Island has won multiple awards including the Orange ‘Best of the Best’ prize. 

Full title:
Manuscript drafts of Andrea Levy’s Small Island
Created:
c. 2004
Format:
Manuscript / Manuscript annotation / Typescript
Creator:
Andrea Levy
Copyright:
© Small Island 2004 by Andrea Levy
Usage terms

You may not use the material for commercial purposes. Please credit the copyright holder when reusing this work.

Held by
Private Collection

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