Cover Image: A Change Is Gonna Come

A Change Is Gonna Come

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Member Reviews

A Change is Gonna Come is a brilliant collection of short stories and poems from a variety of excellent authors, some authors whose work I was already familiar with and several who were new to me. All the pieces related to being marginalised or oppressed in some way and showed the need for change. 

I loved that there was an index of issues covered as a kind of trigger-warning for readers and also a resources section for anyone affected by the issues raised. 

Everything in the collection is brilliant and has a different take on the subject of change. My favourite in the collectiom was Aisha Bushby's Marionette Girl,  a story about Amani, who has OCD, trying to negotiate a world with rituals, until one day something happens that forces her to do something brave. I also loved Hackney Moon by Tanya Burne, which offers a different narrative perspective and tells the story of Esther on thr precipice of an important decision. I loved seeing how Esther grew and changed and the ending melted my heart. We Who was one of the most heart-breaking in the collection, telling a story of friendship and racism that stuck in my mind long after I finished it. Every piece in this collection is wonderful in its own way. 

I really can't recommend A Change is Gonna Come highly enough: every reader needs a copy on their shelf.
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I've waited a long time for this book and my god it doesn't disappoint! What an interesting and necessary mix of new and established writers coming together to fill the current gap in UK publishing. So glad this book exists.
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A collection which bangs a drum, not only in support of BAME authors, but for the sheer joy of life. Take note of this book. It’s among the best short story anthologies of the year. 

I love how The Elders on the Wall sets the tone of the stories, and gives young people a new way to think about themselves in relation to Change. It offers them the idea that they can be an agent for change regardless of the attitudes they have come across. This makes a powerful opening to the anthology.

There is such a variety of stories, from historical settings to futuristic dystopia and contemporary romance. The theme of the anthology is being the change you want to see in the world, but the stories also celebrate a wide variety of cultures and life experiences. 

It would take a huge amount of space to write about every story. My favourites were ‘Astounding Talent! Unequaled Performances’ by Catherine Johnston and ‘We Who?’ by Nikesh Shukla. Johnston’s story is a historical narrative. I love how it moved away from the courts and country houses beloved of historical fiction. The Victorian entertainment industry is fascinating, and Johnston used it to talk about the extra effort people from BAME cultures have had to put in to find a place in society. Shukla’s story was very topic, and captured the atmosphere of 2016. It is set in the run-up to the EU referendum. The character’s friend falls in with white-supremacist sympathisers, but thinks he can air these views while ‘not meaning’ his friend. It captured the divisions caused between society, and the heartbreak of young people who want to believe their parents have the right opinions. Importantly, it showed that young people need to think for themselves, and can do so without loving their parents any less. It opened up important and difficult conversations which need to happen. 

It was great to see new authors alongside established voices. The competition to find new voices has given talented writers the leg-up they need to find further experience in the industry. I look forward to reading more of their work.
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If I am honest, I am not a huge fan of the short story. I like to be lost in a book for 400 pages and be taken on an emotional rollercoaster as I read. However, sometimes a collection of short stories comes along and it has some real gems within its pages. The latest one of these is A Change is Gonna Come. 

It is a collection of stories that gives a voice to the voiceless. The topics range from LGBT love, racism and terrorism among others. They are told from a perspective that we wouldn’t necessarily normally encounter. 

As a reader I A Change is Gonna Come extremely interesting. As an educator I found it necessary. I will be reading a selection of these stories to my students. 

Covering topics such as racism, terrorism and the LGBT community among others

A Change is Gonna Come by Various is available now.

For more information regarding Stripes Publishing (@StripesBooks) please visit
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As a Brit, I’m always on the lookout for local authors to support, but it’s not easy - American authors dominate the ‘Teen and YA’ sections of most British bookshops.  It’s even harder to find diverse #UKYA lit.  We’re behind the times when it comes to diversifying our shelves - with some notable exceptions (Patrick Ness, Malorie Blackman and Juno Dawson to name a few), the biggest names in British children’s literature are overwhelmingly straight and white.  So when I heard about A Change Is Gonna Come - an anthology of black, Asian and minority ethnic British authors - I was immediately excited.

The poems and short stories in this anthology explore the theme of ‘change’, and the authors’ interpretations of the theme vary widely, but each story feels undeniably relevant to modern British teenagers - from Nikesh Shukla’s exploration of a teenage friendship torn apart by post-Brexit racial tensions, to Patrice Lawrence’s frighteningly familiar dystopian version of my own city.

Like most anthologies, there’s something for everyone in A Change Is Gonna Come, whether you’re a fan of historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy or contemporary.  Celebrating and championing the voices of British people of colour, A Change Is Gonna Come is a much-needed collection of stories, and I hope to see it gracing the shelves of libraries and schools up and down the country. 

Many thanks to Stripes Publishing for providing a copy of A Change Is Gonna Come. The opinions expressed in this review are my own. A Change Is Gonna Come will be released on August 10th.

Publisher: Stripes Publishing
Rating:  4 stars | ★★★★✰ 
Review originally posted to Paperback'd Reviews
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An anthology of short stories that would appeal in particular to YA. Each story relates to the idea of change and varies in genre, style and voice. An enjoyable mix of story and poetry.
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This is a book that was needed in the world. As the Goodreads synopsis says, it was long-overdue. I agree with this statement completely. 

I loved the way it was structured with the two poems at the start and the end to frame it. I loved the stories in it, the beautiful story about a blind man saving the world with help of mysterious letters to a future boy, the wonderful one about two Muslim girls facing a bus ride to school after a big terrorist attack and how they both deal with it. There were just so many amazing stories in this book. There are two many to mention and I could say good things about every single one of them, but if I did then I would run out of space in this review. 

The main thing I think to say is that every single author in this book contributed a brilliant story from a different perspective and they came together to make something that the world has needed for a long, long time. 

This is a book that everyone should read. And I hope everyone is as touched by the stories as I was.
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Beautiful book from voices not often heard in the publishing world. A must-read.
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For fans of non-fiction’s The Good Immigrant or Stripes’ previous anthology I’ll Be Home for Christmas, this collection does exactly what it sets out to, providing a diverse, fresh gathering of BAME authors and short stories for UKYA.  The ostensible theme of the project is ‘change’, but it tackles far more: racism, culture shock, friendships, family, time travel, break-ups, Victorian circuses, heritage, loss, inexplicable feathers. Like most short story collections it’s quite a quick read, and like most short story anthologies, it’s a little hit-and-miss as it’s rare that all contributions to a multifarious offering will suit every reader. A partial list of issues mentioned in the anthology, some with the potential to be very affecting for teens, is noted in the first pages and listed at the back. Offerings from Phoebe Roy and Tanya Byrne particularly stood out.

A full version of this review will appear on my blog closer to publication.
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a powerful and hopeful collection for everyone to read.
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Review posted to YouTube -
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Excellent book of short stories featuring authors from BAME backgrounds. A particular favourite of mine was Hackney Moon by Tanya Byrne which is about a young lesbian girl and her experience of early love. It melds a  poetic and gritty voice together to make something beautiful. A must read.
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Unusually for a collection of short stories I loved every single one. I liked that some were about the BAME experience but mostly loved that all were so incredibly well written. My list of authors to look out for just grew incredibly
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A Change is Gonna Come is a collection of short stories/poetry by various authors (both debut authors and already published) with the aim to "give creative space to those who have been historically had their thoughts, ideas and experiences oppressed". This anthology covers a range of topics, with a list of issues raised at the end of the book if you wish to find out more information or get trigger warnings, which I think is a fantastic idea and should be done more frequently with other books! Other publishers/authors TAKE NOTE!!

I often find it hard to review an anthology as an overall rating doesn't reflect all the stories in the book, but this is perhaps the first anthology where I feel all the pieces of writing were equally as good, each with their own unique message. There's something for everyone - whether you're into historical fiction, fantasy or poetry, this YA anthology reflects a larger range of genres. 

My favourite 3 pieces were....

Marionette Girl by Aisha Bushby - a short story about a girl who is obsessed with Harry Potter and has severe OCD, which she has to try and overcome after there is a sudden incident which means she cannot follow her usual routine.

A Refuge by Ayisha Malik - Sabrina goes to help and volunteer in a refugee camp but meets Homa, a young girl who lives there by herself. They form a brief friendship and Sabrina does everything she can to try and help her.

Fortune Favours the Bold by Yasmin Rahman - There has just been a terrorist attack in a nightclub with seven fatalities and Zaibah fears the next time she goes out in public because of the blame and harassment she receives because she wears a headscarf. That's until she comes across a girl who has she admires for standing up for herself...

I definitely recommend this anthology, whether you usually read YA or not. There is something for everyone and the emphasis on characters which are usually marginalised and unfortunately ignored in the wider world is fantastic to read! I really hope there are similar anthologies like this to come in the future!!
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If there's one thing in life I am almost guaranteed to enjoy, it's a collection of short stories by a range of authors, all writing on a loosely linked topic. This one was no exception. There are some truly brilliant stories here; inevitably, not all of them will resonate with every reader, and there were a couple which didn't grab me, but on the whole this is an excellent collection.

Catherine Johnson's fictionalised account of William Darby, a 19th century circus performer better known as Young Darby, Negro Rope Dancer and Equestrian, is the kind of story of which I'd happily read a few more hundred pages; it's a beautifully realised piece of historical fiction. Tanya Byrne's Hackney Moon is just as beautiful, with a hauntingly detached narrator seemingly able to intervene in the life of Esther, a gay, black teenage girl leaving behind old relationships for better ones.

I'm already a fan of Nikesh Shukla, having followed his work in putting together The Good Immigrant, and I've read one of his novels too (Coconut Unlimited - it's excellent, by the way); knowing he had a story in this collection was one of the reasons I was so keen to read it, and We Who? is a superb account of a friendship coming under pressure from prejudice and one teen's internalising of his father's anti-immigration views. The stories here may be short, but their impact is long-lasting, and Shukla's is an excellent example of a narrative which stays in the reader's mind long after reading. 

Patrice Lawrence takes a dystopian view in The Clean Sweep, in which young offenders are transported to a secure location for the public to vote on their fates, reality TV-style. It's a shift in tone from the previous stories, and one which invigorates and adds variety of genre. Magical realism also features in Phoebe Roy's Iridescent Adolescent: the story of a girl who begins sprouting feathers. It's a quite gorgeous addition to the anthology.

I also loved Mary Bello's Dear Asha, about a teenage girl travelling to Nigeria to bury her mother. The depiction of Nigeria is so vibrant that the reader is swept away just like Asha, and it's a really effective portrayal of cultural difference as well as human similarity.

There's so much to enjoy and admire in A Change Is Gonna Come. The book introduces new BAME talent as well as offering short stories by more established novelists, with Ayisha Malik and Irfan Master both featuring in addition to those I've mentioned. This is an excellent collection of topical, emotive, eye-opening fiction; it's educational without being didactic, and it's exactly the kind of writing that will help to create a better and more more open-minded world.
Review to be posted at on publication day.
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I loved this, especially Catherine Johnson's piece and Tanya Byrne's. I couldn't tell who the new authors were because they were so good. Excellent anthology!
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