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Winning eye on racism

13 June, 2019 — By John Gulliver

Liz Fekete, left, celebrating on Tuesday with Gloria Morrison at the Bread and Roses Award

IS there a revival of the small independent bookshop?

My local independent certainly chugs along – and on Saturday I was surprised when an assistant told me, in a matter-of-fact tone, that a new book I wanted was sold out.

“More copies will come in on Monday,” she smiled. Though I was disappointed her remarks were music to my ears! I left wondering how many they must have sold.

So, off I went on Tuesday evening to a book award ceremony – not the Booker Prize but a little-known one called the Bread and Roses Award, organised by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers, held in the basement of the HQ of the National Union of Journalists in Gray’s Inn Road, King’s Cross.

Hotly tipped among the more than 50 hopefuls was Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire, by Akala, born and schooled in Camden, who wrote a devastating book on race.

But he was beaten by another and perhaps more challenging exposé of racism: Europe’s Fault Lines: Racism and the Rise of the Right, by Liz Fekete (Verso).

The book by Ms Fekete, director of the Institute of Race Relations, based in King’s Cross, was chosen as a “necessary book for these difficult times. The rise of the far right across Europe (and elsewhere) needs our constant attention and action”, said the judge Jane Watts.

Ms Fekete, whose parents were post-war Hungarian refugees, has been researching right-wing extremists in Europe for several years – and the sharpness of her observations couldn’t have been published in a more hazardous period.

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