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Journalist as Author: Uju Asika, Bringing Up Race: How to Raise a Kind Child in a Prejudiced World

Uju Asika Bringing Up Race

‘Once I started exploring my own background growing up Black in Britain, experiences I’d had with my kids and talking to other parents, the book really took on a life of its own’Uju Asika is a multiple award-nominated blogger at Babes About Town, digital consultant at Mothers and Shakers and, now, author of the book Bringing Up Race: How to Raise a Kind Child in a Prejudiced World.

Sharing stories and talking points for raising antiracist and empathetic children, Uju’s book is informed by lessons learned from her own family life and that of her contributors. Picked for the Evening Standard’s Best Books September 2020, Bringing Up Race continues Uju’s work to tackle the difficult parts of modern life – read on for more on the book and the challenges of getting it to print.

Can you introduce your book in a couple of sentences? 

Bringing Up Race: How to Raise a Kind Child in a Prejudiced World is aimed at people of all ethnicities who want to raise children who are empathetic, inclusive and antiracist. It’s filled with personal stories, expert insights and talking points to educate and empower you to have conversations around race and take action against racism, however it shows up in your life.

Could you tell us about how you came to the book

The idea to write on this topic came from a relative of mine and at first I was quite resistant about the project, for a number of reasons (including imposter syndrome). However, once I started exploring my own background growing up Black in Britain, experiences I’d had with my kids and talking to other parents (I interviewed around 20 contributors), the book really took on a life of its own.

Are you working on another book, or do you have other projects under way? 

I do have a second book idea that my agent is shopping and another fun project that’s in the negotiation stages. I’m also a screenwriter, so have a couple of script concepts that I’m playing with. Aside from that, I run my blog Babes About Town and digital consultancy Mothers and Shakers, so that keeps me pretty busy!

Can you offer any advice to other journalists or bloggers thinking about writing a book likeBringing Up Race

Go for it! It’s a tonne of work for sure but there’s nothing like that feeling of holding a finished book in your hand with your name on it. My boys filmed my unboxing moment which was really special. In terms of practical advice, it’s really helpful to ‘chunk it down’ from the massive, mind-boggling task of writing A WHOLE BOOK to the basic steps of X amount of words per day. If you are a journalist or a blogger, you’ve probably written the equivalent of multiple books (in terms of word count) over the course of your career. I’m a blogger and I looked at my book as writing 17-20 extra-long blog posts. Easy peasy. Well, not that easy, there was lots of screaming at the walls… but breaking it down definitely helped me get past the finish line.

What books are you reading right now, or about to pick up? 

I’m usually reading multiple books on the go e.g. one on my Kindle app and one in my hands. Right now, I’m reading Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and Girl by Kenya Hunt. Next up: Love Orange by Natasha Randall, A Girl Made of Air by Nydia Hetherington and The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin. On my Christmas wish list is The Midnight Library by Matt Haig.

Are there any other examples of your everyday writing that you’re especially proud of or would just like to share? 

This blog post on talking to your children about George Floyd and Black Lives Matter. Also, my article for BBC Tiny Happy People on How to Talk to Young Kids about Race. I also enjoyed sharing my tips on Writing Through a Pandemic for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) blog. I’m a proud NaNoWriMo winner for 2018.

Are you available for freelance commissions, speaker opportunities or other roles? 

I’m always open to ideas and opportunities for collaboration. I especially enjoy writing/speaking or creating content on how to raise kinder antiracist children, motherhood, creativity, and doing cool things with your family in London and beyond.

If I’m a PR professional with a story or another opportunity for you, how should I get in touch? 

You can contact me via email or reach out on social media.

Bringing Up Race: How to Raise a Kind Child in a Prejudiced World (September 2020, Yellow Kite, Hachette UK) is available in hardback, ebook and audiobook formats on Amazon and Waterstones. Follow Uju @babesabouttown on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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