Beverley Naidoo

Beverley Naidoo is a novelist who was born in South Africa under Apartheid. As a student, Beverley began to question racism and at 21 she was arrested for taking part in the resistance movement. In 1965 Beverley came to England and married another South African exile. Beverley started writing when her own children were growing up. Her first book, Journey to Jo’burg, won The Other Award in Britain.

It opened a window onto children’s struggles under apartheid. In South Africa it was banned until 1991, the year after Nelson Mandela was released from jail. For subsequent books including Chain of Fire she had to rely on reports and photos smuggled out of South Africa. But after 26 years she was at last able to return freely to research in the country. No Turning Back and Out of Bounds followed. In all her stories, young characters from different backgrounds face tense conflicts and choices. Beverley chose London as the setting for her first novel set outside South Africa but the issues are as dramatic. Two refugee children face a terrible personal loss as well as injustice. The Other Side of Truth won her the Carnegie Medal. Death of an Idealist, her biography-cum-memoir of her cousin Neil Aggett, physician and trade unionist, was published in 2012, thirty years after his death in a South African security police cell.