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Beverley Naidoo won the Carnegie Medal and Smarties Silver Prize for ‘The Other Side of Truth’. With its sequel, ‘Web of Lies’, it is set in London not far from the National Gallery. Her first novel, the award-winning ‘Journey to Jo’burg’ was set in South Africa where she grew up. It opened the eyes of many thousands of readers around the world.

“The book was banned in South Africa until the year after Nelson Mandela was freed from jail. Imagine thinking that you can ban ideas! I wrote a poem called ‘They tried to lock up freedom’!”

As a student Beverley became involved in the resistance to apartheid, leading to arrest and exile in England. She says:

“I was a late developer. In my whites-only girls-only school no one challenged me to ask questions about what was happening. I was very blinkered. I had just accepted that apartheid and racism were normal. Thank goodness, when I got to university, I made friends with people who challenged me to think and see what I had previously ignored.

I began to read books where authors invited me into worlds very different from my own. That was when I began to learn the power of reading to open us to new worlds, new journeys of heart and mind. When I write, I am my first reader. I want what I write to take me on a journey and to grip my heart and mind. If I am gripped, I hope that you will be too.”

Beverley has won many awards around the world for her work. Her latest book ‘Burn My Heart’ is set in 1950s Kenya. The Guardian said:

“’Burn My Heart’ moves, enlightens and reminds us about a time in British colonial history, a time of African struggle, that helps us to understand how things are now with a little more insight. And, most of all, it is a fine story of friendship, trust, betrayal and loss.”

Beverley is on the web at

Image of quote from Beverley's story.Click here for Beverley's story.
Image of students.Click here for Student Responses.
Detail of ‘Princess Rákóczi’ by Nicolas de Largillierre, probably 1720.Click here for About the Painting.
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