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World Book Day 2003 - Tindal Street Press hit Top Ten

World Book Day 2003:
Whispers in the Walls Makes Top Ten

Birmingham’s freshest writing talent, showcased in a much-praised short story anthology, has been voted into a top ten list of books reflecting ‘the experience of living in modern England’.

Whispers in the Walls: New Black and Asian Voices from Birmingham edited by Leone Ross and Yvonne Brissett has been voted onto a prestigious shortlist of ten books that evoke the England we live in today. The ‘We Are What We Read’ campaign for World Book Day aims to find the book that best represents modern England. Other shortlisted titles include Zadie Smith’s White Teeth, Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island and George Orwell’s 1984.

It comes as no surprise for this Birmingham-published book to be bracketed with such illustrious names. On publication the verve of these new voices was praised by a roll call of distinguished writers, including Benjamin Zephaniah, Bonnie Greer, Ferdinand Dennis, Courttia Newland, Lemn Sissay and Meera Syal. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown commented: ‘Here are voices of people who were seeded in this soil, voices utterly British, but resonant with the new Britain they are helping to make.’

The stories that ‘sparkle with the vitality of Birmingham itself’ (Debjani Chatterjee) celebrate the second city’s ever-changing cityscape – from the bustle of the Soho Road to the Small Heath reggae dance-hall scene – and the ever-fascinating complex of family relationships, from a tender exploration of a boy’s relationship with his grandfather to a series of letters that tell of a Jamaican couple’s progress in 1960s Birmingham.

Making this shortlist is not the first recognition of the quality of Whispers in the Walls. The book’s achievements include the broadcast of five of its stories on BBC Radio 4 in August 2002, winning the Arts Ball Award for Cultural Diversity 2002, nationwide distribution in the UK, USA and Australia and its forthcoming translation into a talking book for the blind.

‘Fresh talent from the Midlands comes as no surprise,
but the strength and variety of these writers certainly does’ (Meera Syal )

Notes to editors
· World Book Day is the biggest annual celebration of books and reading in the UK. The next World Book Day will be held on Thursday 6 March 2003.
· Information about World Book Day is also available from the web site
· The World Book Day tradition began in Catalonia, Spain, where people celebrate St George’s Day by giving a book and a rose to loved ones

Further information
For review copies or to interview Whispers editors and contributors, please contact Emma Hargrave at Tindal Street Press.
© 2001; David Fine

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