Since graduating from The Queen's College, Oxford University with a degree in English Language and Literature, Caryl Phillips has authored plays, essays and novels. His oeuvre tackles a broad range of themes, but focuses in large part on the complex no
His 2008 novel, 'Foreigners', subtitled 'Three English lives', remains tied to his larger body of work. In it, Phillips explores fictionally the lives of three black Britons: the freed slave Francis Barber who was, for a time, the manservant of Dr Samuel Johnson; Randolph Turpin, a prolific boxer in the 1940s and 1950s; and David Oluwale. The narrative confronts questions of identity; who we are, to whom and to where we belong, and where we wish to find ourselves. All this is done from a unique racial perspective, his work making for thought-provoking reading.Nigerian immigrant whose suspicious death (he drowned, but how he entered the River Aire in Leeds is unknown) caused controversy in 1969. Phillips knits together the experiences of the three men to form a larger reflection on the history of the black presence in Britain, which extends back to Medieval times.
A compassionate and important novel and historical document, 'Foreigners: Three English Lives' reminds us just how far we have come in tackling racism and discrimination, but also highlights how far we still have to go to achieve the ideal of a society free from racist and discriminatory rhetoric and views.