What I am Reading Now…
Claire Heuchan

July 2020

In troubled times, I find strength in the words of Black women. And these are definitely troubled times. Police continue to brutalise and kill Black men, women, and children – often without ever being brought to justice. Five years after he died at their hands, the white police officers responsible for the death of Sheku Bayoh still haven’t been held accountable. State sanctioned violence against Black people is an ongoing reality. That reality is as painful as it is inescapable. But I have found sanctuary in the Black imagination.

These books have given me the energy not only to survive, but to resist. They carry stories filled with courage and resilience, vulnerability and insight. Audre Lorde once wrote that “if I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” Every essay, every poem, every testimony I have included is an act of bold self-definition.

Here’s some food for thought, words to nourish the soul:

Claire Heuchan is an author and award-winning essayist who blogs as Sister Outrider.


Sista!: An anthology of writing by Same Gender loving women of African/Caribbean descent with a UK connection (eds.) Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, Rikki Beadle-Blair and John R Gordon (Team Angelica Publishing 2018)

The Terrible, Yrsa Daley-Ward (Penguin, 2018)

As a Black Woman: Poems 1982 – 1985, Maud Sulter (Urban Fox Press, 1985)

Charting the Journey: Writings by Black and Third World Women (eds.) S.Grewal, Jackie Kay, Liliane Landor, Gail Lewis, Pratibha Parmar (Sheba Feminist Press, 1988)

Exit!, Grizelda Grootboom (Jacana Media, 2016)