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A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange

Anthony Burgess

A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong'o

A Grain of Wheat

Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Picnic At Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

Picnic At Hanging Rock

Joan Lindsay

The Interrogation by J.M.G. Le Clezio

The Interrogation

J.M.G. Le Clezio

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

Wide Sargasso Sea

Jean Rhys

The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born by Ayi Kwei Armah

The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born

Ayi Kwei Armah

Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe

Arrow of God

Chinua Achebe

Death of a Naturalist by Seamus Heaney

Death of a Naturalist

Seamus Heaney

When Rain Clouds Gather And Maru by Bessie Head

When Rain Clouds Gather And Maru

Bessie Head

The Girls Of Slender Means by Muriel Spark

The Girls Of Slender Means

Muriel Spark

The sixties marked a turning point in cultural and political history. For the Commonwealth, it signalled the start of the rapid acceleration of decolonisation across the Caribbean and Africa. The collapse of the Federation of the West Indies led to countries in the region becoming independent. Over the next decade, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Barbados all joined the Commonwealth as independent states, alongside other countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Singapore and Fiji. This decade also saw the first Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting convene where the Singapore Declaration was issued, laying out the core political values that would go on to define the Commonwealth.

Questions for your reading group

  • The 1960s are seen as the moment youth culture exploded. How does your text(s) represent youth?
  • The impact of colonialism, past and present, is represented in many different ways in these texts. How is this portrayed in your book(s) and in what ways does it affect the narrative?
  • The 1960s saw advances in gender equality around the world. How are women represented in your book(s)?
  • How do the protagonists in the text(s) deal with figures of authority?
  • The concept of masculinity is central to some of the texts in this decade, what comment do you think the author is trying to make in your book(s)?
  • Does religion play a role in your text(s)? If so, how?
  • What linguistic choices does the author(s) of your text(s) make? Why have they chosen to use language in this way?
  • What other books published between 1962-71 would you recommend?

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