Typescript draft of The Rainbow Sign by Hanif Kureishi

Description

This is a typescript draft of ‘The Rainbow Sign’, an autobiographical essay by Hanif Kureishi. It was first published in 1986 with his screenplay for My Beautiful Laundrette (1985), a film about a young gay British-Pakistani boy living in Britain during the Thatcher years. Both essay and screenplay explore the experience of being British-Pakistani, through themes of race, class, sexuality, politics and religion.

The essay’s title and epigraph is drawn from The Fire Next Time, a book of two essays on race and religion by African-American author James Baldwin. Baldwin’s work opens, 'God gave Noah the rainbow sign, / No more water, the fire next time!'. The lyric is from a spiritual, and conveys Baldwin’s concluding, cautionary message that there will be dire social consequences if Americans do not address racism and prejudice, and allow their hatred to win over love. Baldwin, who stood for Kureishi as ‘intelligence and love combined’, underpins the tone and message within ‘The Rainbow Sign’.

Although the draft is close to the published essay, it retains traces of being originally written in the third person ─ ‘Hanif’ is repeatedly crossed out. In the essay Kureishi reveals that he initially used this narrative voice, ‘because of the difficulty of directly addressing myself to what I felt then, of not wanting to think about it again’.

Full title:
Hanif Kureishi Papers: The Rainbow Sign by HanIf Kureishi: 1986
Created:
1986
Format:
Manuscript / Typescript / Draft
Language:
English
Creator:
Hanif Kureishi
Usage terms

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

Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Add MS 89091/15/1

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An introduction to My Beautiful Laundrette

Article by:
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Themes:
Literature 1950–2000, Capturing and creating the modern, Exploring identity

Hanif Kureishi's 1985 film My Beautiful Laundrette portrays a young British Asian man who runs a laundrette with his white schoolfriend, and the romantic relationship between the two. Sukhdev Sandhu explains how the film marked a radical departure from previous representations of British Asians in mainstream culture.

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John Mullan considers Hanif Kureishi's The Buddha of Suburbia as a historical novel, and tracks its references to high and low culture.

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