Beryl Gilroy emigrated to Britain from British Guiana in August 1952. As the first black headteacher in London she chronicled her experiences in her memoir Black Teacher (1976). Gilroy says ‘I wrote novels as well, but they could not get past the readers who were opinionated West Indian males playing the Gender Game’.

Gilroy’s novel In Praise of Love and Children was written in 1959 but remained unpublished until 1996. In Praise tells the story of Melda who has moved to Britain and is struggling to come to terms with painful family history and her brother’s relationship with a white woman. This manuscript extract, annotated and corrected by Gilroy, is from the opening chapter.