In this first volume of a three part memoir, Wil Roach writes about living within a Caribbean culture in the heart of London, as a child of the ’60s through to the ’80s.
Born on the island of Trinidad and brought to the UK as a baby, Wil grew up as a gay black boy in the frosty capital of Britain, learning by degrees about cultural and sexual diversity.
Wil Roach on writing memoir
Writing enables me to give voice to my untold stories, those that have existed for longer than I can remember. Ghost stories that I thought would remain shrouded in mystery have developed my writer’s voice so that these memories are made flesh and have then taken shape on the page. Now I can see myself more clearly and without sadness.
I really felt for you, living such a segregated childhood. I felt angry at your parents until towards the end.
When, in the story, finally you wrote: ‘What a contrast with those early days at 40 Torbay Road and that little room we lived in … I felt a sense of fulfilment that my parents’ struggle and mine as a child had created this loving home.’
What a relief to read this last chapter. It was worth suffering for you, all this time, as finally you felt fine.
I loved all the details, the honesty. I thank you for writing Black Gay & Underage.