Surge

Surge

*Shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2019*

Jay Bernard’s extraordinary debut is a fearlessly original exploration of the black British archive: an enquiry into the New Cross Fire of 1981, a house fire at a birthday party in south London in which thirteen young black people were killed.

Dubbed the ‘New Cross Massacre’, the fire was initially believed to be a racist attack, and the indifference with which the tragedy was met by the state triggered a new era of race relations in Britain.

Tracing a line from New Cross to the ‘towers of blood’ of the Grenfell fire, this urgent collection speaks with, in and of the voices of the past, brought back by the incantation of dancehall rhythms and the music of Jamaican patois, to form a living presence in the absence of justice.

A ground-breaking work of excavation, memory and activism – both political and personal, witness and documentary – Surge shines a much-needed light on an unacknowledged chapter in British history, one that powerfully resonates in our present moment.

Title:Surge
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781784742614
Format Type:

    Surge Reviews

  • Trudie

    Surge was available from my library as a downloadable audiobook and since this is my only option for borrowing books at the moment I took the leap. Read by the author, Jay Bernard, this turned out t...

  • Eric Anderson

    The question of how we should memorialize victims of injustice, those who've been forgotten or those whose stories can't ever be known is a difficult one. Jay Bernard writes a powerful introduction to...

  • Rebecca

    As a writer-in-residence at the George Padmore Institute, a research centre for radical Black history, in 2016, Bernard investigated the New Cross Massacre, a fire that killed 13 young people in 1981....

  • Andrea

    It all started on 18 January, as part of my desultory (by then) following of The Guardian’s Feed Your Soul 31 day literary diet for January. MIND BLOWN! https://youtu.be/_ANbixVTnU4 I listened 3 tim...

  • Jay Moran

    I take this January morning in my hands and wonder if it should go under London, England, Britain, British, Black-British - where to put the burning house, the child made ash, the brick in the back of...

  • Michelle

    This was a moving book of poetry that was mainly inspired by two tragedies in Britain: The New Cross Massacre and the Grenfall Tower Fire. Forty years ago on January 18th, 13 young black people lost t...

  • Marc Nash

    The best poem was "Sentence" about the Grenfell Tower fire which eerily echoed the 1981 Deptford Fire that is the main focus of this collection. I also found the poems in patois particularly good, rea...

  • Charles Edwards-Freshwater

    A powerful and eye-opening collection of poetry that doesn't hold back the righteous anger and frustration surrounding two landmark instances of racial injustice and tragedy - the 1981 New Cross Fire ...

  • Tania

    Not being much of a poetry appreciator (though I keep trying) I don’t think it’s fair for me to rate this ‘officially.’. There are a number outstanding, heartbreaking works, especially in the ...

  • Em Power

    britain's systemic racism is sickening.my favs in this book were apple, pem-people and patois. i also liked pride because us lgbts are epic....