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Black History Month

Explore Library resources, stories and perspectives on Black History Month from Lancaster University Library and beyond.

Book Giveaway & Reading Group 2020: Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala

Front cover of Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by AkalaOur chosen book for Black History Month 2020 is The Sunday Times bestseller, Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by the BAFTA and MOBO award-winning hip-hop artist, writer and social entrepreneur, Akala.

We have 100 copies of this book to distribute to staff and students who would like to read this title and take part in reading groups later in Michaelmas term. 

Why Natives by Akala?

This year we wanted our student community to recommend a title to promote as part of Black History Month. We are grateful to Max Kafula, the newly appointed LUSU BAME Student Officer (20/21), who brought a fitting crowdfunding and book giveaway initiative to our attention. Douglas Booker, a part-time  PhD research student in the Lancaster Environment Centre who - inspired by similar initiatives as part of the Black Lives Matter movement - had set up a fundraising campaign to get anti-racist literature into the hands of those who want to educate themselves. 


Photograph of Douglas Booker, PhD Lancaster Environment CentreDouglas explained: 

"I wanted to help spread the word of a book that really helped to open my eyes and shape my thinking about race and class in the UK. The crowdfunding initiative, which so far raised £315, together with match funding from the library, will provide 100 copies of Natives to Lancaster University staff and students".

Douglas clarified that "the idea is that all money raised will be used to buy copies of the book and to distribute them to people who want to educate themselves. The only condition is you don't only read the books, but you share them, discuss them, and then join the fight to make the world a fairer place".  


Find out more about Akala and Natives

In lieu of an author event this year, similar to the one we held in 2019 for Yvonne Battle-Felton's 'Remembered', we would encourage you to watch Akala's live readings on YouTube to find out more about his inspiration and writing process. Also of note are his address and Q&A session at Oxford Union in 2015 (recorded prior to the release of Natives) and interview at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2019.


How do I request a copy of Natives?

If you would like to receive a free copy of Natives, please complete our Request Form. Please see the eligibility criteria and required information below before completing the form.


Eligibility and required information:

  • Requests are welcome from current University students and members of staff.
  • You will need to provide your University email and an address to which a copy of the book can be posted. (Postage costs, worldwide, will be covered as part of the giveaway). 
  • You must consent to your name, email and postage address being shared with Blackwell Ltd. in order for them to supply your personal copy of the book. Your information will only be used by Blackwell Ltd. for this specific purpose and disposed of accordingly. 
  • Requests will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. 

For any questions about this initiative please contact Caroline Gibson (


Reading Groups

In addition to the book giveaway, we intend holding a number of reading groups to discuss the book once everyone has had a chance to read it. These will be informal online events, facilitated by librarians and/or student volunteers, in which we provide a friendly and safe space to discuss content from within the book, share observations or personal learning that took place. 

Reading Group 2020

Cover of Natives: Race & Class in the Ruins of Empire by AkalaWe're planning a number of reading groups to discuss Natives: Race & Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala.

These will be informal online events, facilitated by librarians and/or student volunteers, in which we provide a friendly and safe space to discuss content from within the book, share observations or personal learning that took place. 

If you would like to take part in a reading group, and don't already have a copy of Natives, you can apply for a copy during our Book Giveaway


Upcoming reading groups dates and times are listed below.


Reading Groups guidelines

image of 4 interlocked hands showing unity or co-operationWe want the reading groups to be enjoyable and inclusive for everyone involved. Therefore, we have esatablished some guidelines for members that we can agree to.

  • Come prepared having read the book and possibly with notes for discussion
  • Listen and make sure everyone has an opportunity to speak
  • Try not to interrupt others while they are sharing opinions
  • It's okay to disagree so long as it's done respectfully
  • Keep on topic, but feel free to introduce information that is relevant to the discussion such as historical facts, biographical details, book background, related authors or topics etc.
  • Avoid inappropriate or offensive language
  •  Respect the authority of the reading group lead/moderator

You'll be asked to agree to these before registering for a reading group, and we will briefly discuss them at the start with all participants. The facilitator has the right to uphold the guidelines during the reading group meeting.

Reading groups upcoming

woman reading bookBelow are listed the upcoming Reading Groups dates and times.

Join other University staff and students who have read Natives: Race & Class in the Ruins of Empire to discuss the book.

If you don't have a copy, you can borrow one from the Library or receive your own copy through our Black History Month Book Giveaway, while stocks last. 

Reading Groups will be facilitated by a member of Library staff or another willing volunteer. Reading Groups will take place online using MS Teams, and a link will be sent to you after registration.

These are open to Lancaster University staff and students as part of our Black History Month and Decolonising the University initiatives. They will focus on the ideas in the book and our responses to them, rather than an academic discussion. 

Image credit:Photo by Seven Shooter on Unsplash

Reading Group 2019

We facilitated reading groups centred around Yvonne Battle-Felton's 'Remembered' during Black History Month.

We still have new copies of the book to give away to people interested in running a reading group. Please email if you would like a copy.

Reading groups were initially held in the last week of October Monday 28th October to Friday 1st November 2019 and included a mix of staff and students from the University. 

One participant wrote to the Library director to say:

"What an absolute joy to be able to talk to other people about that book and hear the author read on campus. It’s not often that students and staff can get together to talk so I personally really appreciated it. [The facilitator] managed our group beautifully with great sensitivity and insight."