Comedy, poetry, history and magic combined with themes of a social and spiritual nature are the themes and styles evident in this seminal collection of plays for stage, radio and television by Rukhsana Ahmad, Maya Chowdhry, Trish Cooke, Winsome Pinnock, Meera Syal and Zindika. Edited and introduced by Kadija George, the anthology includes essays on theatre, writing workshops, 'The Importance of Oral Tradition to Black Theatre' by Valerie Small, an interview with Yvonne Brewster by Stella Oni, and survey of the black British theatre scene by Deirdre Osborne (A Recent Look at Black Women Playwrights). Effortless depiction of characters devoid of stereotypical images and typecast roles, and the playwrights' approach to unconventional issues are the key characteristics of this anthology.
A Hero's Welcome by Winsome Pinnock is a tale of misplaced loyalty, longing for escape and early love. Monsoon by Maya Chowdhry is a poetic account of a young woman's sexual awakening. Four women share the house of a ballet dancer, whose contact with the supernatural lays the ghosts of the past to rest in Leonora's Dance by Zindika, Meera Syal's My Sister-Wife is a taut thriller about two women who discover they are both married to the same man while Song for a Sanctuary by Rukhsana Ahmad explores the painful dilemma of an Asian woman forced to seek help from a women's refuge. The anthology concludes with the touching play, Running Dream by Trish Cooke, which tells the story of three generations of West Indian women with warmth and humour.Six Plays by Black and Asian Women Writers represents just a few of the distinguished writers who have achieved national recognition with work produced on stage, television and radio by some of the most distinguished actors, directors and producers of African and Asian descent that the arts field in Britain has seen. The anthology heralds the significance that young women of African and Asian descent now have more role models to look towards, reinforced by actors and writers-in-residence going into educational institutions and more diverse organisations and situations, from the BBC-supported writer-in-residence projects, with the likes of performer/artists Rommi Smith and Erika Tan, to performance poet/multi-media artist Dorothea Smartt as the Brixton Market Poet-in-Residence. Indeed, since the first publication of this anthology, Meera Syal has become an international name, with novel, TV and stage credits including the popular musical, Bombay Dreams, debuting in the West End theatre. After receiving a writer-in-residence fellowship at Cambridge University, Winsome Pinnock has gone on to produce further plays staged at much-respected fringe theatres such as the Tricycle Theatre. Maya Chowdhry continues to be experimental with her work in multimedia formats, has co-edited a book with Nina Rapi, Acts of Passion: Sexuality, Gender and Performance and is currently working on a coedited anthology of women's writing in the North of England, 'Bitch Lit'; Zindika has written for dance theatre, for Adzido, and co-edited a book, When Will I See You Again with Natalie Smith; Rukshana Ahmad has published a novel, The Hope Chest, and received a Royal Literary Fellowship and Trish Cooke has a successful career writing books for children.Yet moving from the margins and into the mainstream continues to happen too slowly.