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What's On
Small Island
Reading Group Questions
The Transatlantic Slave Trade
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Reader Contributions

Small Island
Award-winning novelist Andrea Levy’s
Small Island was published in 2004 and has become a critically acclaimed international bestseller. The author has drawn upon personal family experience and extensive research to create a compelling novel that convincingly mixes high drama, comedy, pathos, outrage and compassion.

The reader is immersed in the period when the first black Caribbean immigrants arrived in post-war Britain and made contact with the white resident population, a meeting that would change the lives of all. The story shifts between 1948, the year when the ss Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury in Kent carrying 492 Jamaican migrant workers – including among them Andrea Levy’s father – and ‘Before’, the years leading up to this significant moment in British history. The events are seen through the eyes of four narrators, two black and two white.

Visit Andrea Levy’s website for biographical and bibliographical information about the author as well as book reviews and links to articles.

On these Small Island pages you can read about the novel’s main characters. There are also some questions to use in group discussions or to think about when you have finished reading the book (note: there are some potential plot spoilers among these).

For further information, download the Andrea Levy and Small Island section from the readers’ guide. The guide also refers to incidents and characters from the book within the sections on The Windrush Generation and Settling In.

  Photo of Andrea Levy (Headline).

Andrea Levy (Headline).

Andrea Levy on launch day in Liverpool.

Andrea Levy on launch day in Liverpool.

Read Andrea Levy interview with The Herald

Download here PDF of an article by Teddy Jamieson from The Herald Magazine, 6 January 2007. Reproduced with permission from The Herald (Glasgow) Newsquest (Herald & Times) Ltd © Newsquest Media Group Ltd.