Award-winning spoken word artist, secondary school teacher, and now author, Jaspreet Kaur, has written the book that ‘Brown Girls’ across the world have been waiting for. It’s a book that will give women confidence, power, reassurance, and permission to be the very best version of themselves that they WANT to be.
Set to be published by Bluebird, an imprint of Pan Macmillan in February 2022, ‘Brown Girl Like Me’ is billed as a ‘toolkit’ and ‘call to arms’ for brown women of all ages, to help them unpick and navigate a complex life journey that has to bridge multiple often conflicting cultures, generations, expectations and aspirations.
In Brown Girl Like Me, Jaspreet pulls no punches, tackling difficult topics from mental health and menstruation stigma to education and beauty standards, from feminism to cultural appropriation and microaggressions. Interwoven with interviews from brilliant South Asian women in the UK and around the world, the book gives space to many differing voices and viewpoints, showing that although there is no single experience that all brown women share, there is solidarity and community that extends – online and offline – across the globe.
In this agenda-setting debut, Jaspreet asks: How can you be a brown feminist without rejecting your own culture, and fitting into what Western feminist standards dictate? How do you remain true to who you are while trying to navigate a white male-dominated workspace? Why are Asian girls the second highest performing group of students in the country, yet this isn’t reflected in wider institutions?
The answers to these questions, and many more, come from personal interviews with Asian women who have thrived despite the odds set against them, from authors to politicians, artists to students, aunties to grandmothers. Jaspreet knows it is paramount that their stories and life lessons are recorded, noted and passed on so future brown girls feel better armed to take on the world. The book details Jaspreet’s own life, as well as bringing together academic insight and these wider experiences.
Also known as Behind the Netra for her poetry and writing, Jaspreet has performed at prestigious venues including Westminster Abbey, London’s Theatre Royal and the House of Lords. Jaspreet has also appeared regularly as a commentator on the BBC and Sunday Morning Live, and provides workshops and motivational talks for all ages. She is an ambassador for The Girls Network and Time to Change, and worked with the UN on their He for She campaign. Jaspreet won the Asian Women of Achievement Award, the We are the City ‘Rising Star Award in 2017 and has been voted one of the Top 10 Inspirational Sikh Women in the UK.
Jaspreet Kaur says: “I always wished there was a guidebook on how to deal with growing up brown, female, marginalised and opinionated, but there was no blueprint at the time. This book is a letter to my younger self, and to every brown girl fighting to grasp our own narrative of history and identity. It explores and challenges existing narratives in a way that has not been done before. I hope this book will give brown women the tools and support to be in the driving seat of their lives and not a mere passenger having their journey decided for them. By hearing the stories of inspirational Asian women from across the UK, this book will empower brown women to take the wheel.”
Carole Tonkinson, Publisher at Bluebird says: “Jaspreet is a powerful writer and a charismatic speaker and performer. In her book, Jaspreet weaves together a myriad of voices by starting each chapter with a personal poem that points to a larger concerns around brown feminism and then she incorporates interviews with others on this theme. The text is rich, layered and bursting with insights and invites dialogue around the themes in the book. We are absolutely thrilled to be working with Jaspreet on this hugely important and necessary book.”
Brown Girl Like Me will be published on 17th February 2022 and is available to pre-order from all good bookshops now.