Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

School of Business and Law


Reading Circle

The re-launch of the SBL EDI Reading Circle: To discuss the life and impact of Olaudah Equiano – activist and abolitionist – on MS Teams on Wed June 1 at 13:00 

Colleagues we would like to restart the valuable shared reading circle which ran in our school in 2020 – and hope to broaden the engagement by asking for suggestions from colleagues for future readings. This would allow us to share insights from the wide range of voices, backgrounds and lived experience in the School of Business and Law. To this end we will use this Padlet to gather suggestions and rank them for importance or interest. We hope this will make the book club reflect the interests of the school.

What other books should the SBL EDI reading circle share and why? Add a book, or take a look to vote and comment – here.

To start us off we invite you to read about the activist and abolitionist Olaudah Equiano.

Born in the Eboe (Igbo) region of the Kingdom of Benin (today southern Nigeria) he lived much of his life in the UK and wrote his biography which was widely read and known. If you have a hunger for firsthand reading, “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, The African” (1789) is available from Project Gutenberg (here). A scholarly analysis of his contribution to black resistance to slavery in Britain is in Peter Fryer’s (1984) Staying Power (P104-114), which we have discussed in a previous book club and is available from our online library (here). A more visual telling of Ola’s story is told on the BBC documentary The Extraordinary Equiano (2007) (is available on BOB here).

Wherever you access his story, it is a valuable one, with incredible impact on the formation of nationhood in Africa (Sierre Leone) and the impact of black activism on European capitalism. And it is a stirring tale of survival and persistence.

We hope you will be able to join us on MS Teams on Wed June 1 at 13:00

And please let us know other books we should share (here)



The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, The African (1789) is available from Project Gutenberg



Peter Fryer’s Staying Power (1984) in the online library. The relevant pages are XX but the book is seminal reading for understanding the history of Africans in Britain



The BBC documentary The Extraordinary Equiano (2007) available on BOB:




Other books and papers to consider…

Can the subaltern speak? Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak Chapter 4 in Colonial Discourse and Post colonial theory: a reader 

The Atlantic slave trade: a business and human rights reading Chapter 2 in Business and Human Rights – Bridging the Accountability Gap by Nadia Bernaz

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