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The Big Read 2020

Welcome to The Big Read 2020


A very warm welcome to The Big Read! This project was developed in 2019 with hopes of bringing staff and students together by providing a common ground on which to build meaningful connections and friendships. Each year we pick a book that we think our Hallam community will enjoy reading and talking about. The best part of The Big Read is you get a free copy of the book! With things being different this year, we are offering eBook versions but you can still get a hardcopy, depending on your reading preferences. Please see the instructions at the bottom of this page to find out out how to get your copy.

This page covers all things Big Read and provides ideas and activities to get you talking, along with our fantastic curated reading lists to explore once you've finished our chosen title. 

About the book 

The book we have picked this year is Natives: race and class in the ruins of empire by Akala.

"From the first time he was stopped and searched as a child, to the day he realised his mum was white, to his first encounters with racist teachers; race and class have shaped Akala's life and outlook. In Natives, he takes his own experiences- with education, the police, identity and everything in between -and uses them to look at the social, historical and political factors that have left us where we are today." (Natives blurb)

It has been shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize, The Jhalak Prize, The Bread and Roses Award and longlisted for the Orwell Prize for political writingWe recognise this book will resonate with a lot of people personally. Please remember there is lots of support available here at Hallam that you can find out about further down the page. 


''Even the guy behind the uni coffee shop counter can't help tiptoeing over to say how much he loves Akala's "outlook on life", now immortalised in print as Natives.'' - Q Magazine

"Akala is... the kind of disruptive, aggressive intellect that a new generation is closely watching" - Observer 

"One of the most thoughtful books of the past year" - Evening Standard 

"A potent combination of autobiography and political history" - Independent 

About the author

Akala is the stage name of Kingslee James McLean Daley. Born in West Sussex in 1983, Akala is a highly-comended British rapper, activist, author and journalist and lives in London. He is a BAFTA and MOBO award winner and has been featured on the Powerlist of the 100 most influential people of African or African Caribbean heritage in the UK, published annually by Powerful Media. Akala is the founder of The Hip-hop Shakespeare Company which dramatises the parallels between Shakespeare and hip hop. Akala is the brother of Ms. Dynamite.