by Christine Williams
Wil Roach’s memoir Black, Gay, Underage has already garnered general reader enthusiasm as well as invitations for the author to participate in upcoming GLBTQI activities.
Launched by Paul Capsis just over a week ago, the first part of Wil Roach’s 3-part memoir was celebrated at Ariel Bookstore in Oxford St, Darlinghurst.
Capsis, himself a renowned theatre performer, singer and writer, was moved by the quality of Wil’s writing during his reading of an excerpt from the book.
The memoir tells a story of Wil growing up as a gay black boy in London, suffering chills from not just the weather. He learned by degrees about cultural and sexual diversity and how to bear the often harsh reactions to him from racist Anglo-Saxons.
Wil’s parents were born on the tropical island of Trinidad and his father emigrated to Britain in the early 1960s, his mother following by ship with baby Wilfred in her arms – and soon to be thrust into a severe English climate. A two-bar heater and plenty of jumpers and coats were the only way they had to survive the cold.
As a boy, Wil helped his mother as, like so many West Indian women, she pulled a shopping trolley on and off buses and through London’s famous markets, seeking out the ingredients for her special Trinidadian meals.
His father, working long hours, studied to become a lawyer and introduced Wil to his home culture as a teenager.
This special story of growing up black and gay in a mostly white heterosexual culture will draw you in without sentimentality or cant. It’s a heartfelt story written with love and compassion for self and other. Available in print and ebook formats here.