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Chinaman by Shehan Karunatilaka


Shehan Karunatilaka

Small Island by Andrea Levy

Small Island

Andrea Levy

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Half of a Yellow Sun

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna

The Memory of Love

Aminatta Forna

The Book of Night Women by Marlon James

The Book of Night Women

Marlon James

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief

Markus Zusak

The Secret River by Kate Grenville

The Secret River

Kate Grenville

A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam

A Golden Age

Tahmima Anam

The Boat by Nam Le

The Boat

Nam Le

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Wolf Hall

Hilary Mantel

In 2002, the Commonwealth celebrated The Queen’s Golden Jubilee and fifty years as its Head. Throughout that year, Her Majesty travelled across the Commonwealth, visiting member countries. Around the globe, people were engaging with a new wave of social media platforms, creating a more globalised, connected world. In 2009, Rwanda became the most recent addition to the Commonwealth. In that same year, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, leader of Trinidad and Tobago became the first female chair of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Questions for your reading group

  • Many of these novels are set against the background of war. How are the characters’ circumstances affected by this?
  • Many of these books are historical fiction. In what ways are you able to relate to the story?
  • How are the characters’ secrets uncovered in your text and how does that change your perception of them?
  • The city plays an important role as the setting of many of these books. How do the characters react to it, and what effect does it have on the narrative?
  • Power is an important theme in these texts. Who holds it in your book(s) and how do they use it?
  • How does your text(s) explore the breakdown of relationships?
  • A lot of the characters in these texts are far from the place they would call home. How do they deal with this in your book(s)?
  • What other books published between 2002-11 would you recommend?

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