Centring Women of Colour: Decolonising the Literature Curriculum with Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire and Bolu Babalola’s Love in Colour

Publication year

See the subsection on "Positioning Black Women at the Centre of Romance: Bolu Babalola, Love in Colour" (55-58).


Black British romance and popular genre writing have emerged as a key topic in recent years’ popular debates, a subject urgently calling for more scholarship. This is one of the reasons why I teach this material on my module, and why readings to support student learning on the module include accessible scholarship, such as blogs and newspaper features, as well as more traditional academic research. On my module on decolonising the literature curriculum, Bolu Babalola’s 2020 short story collection, Love in Colour, forms the basis for students’ investigation of race, gender, sexuality, and genre. Drawing on global myths, folk tales, and legends as the inspiration for her contemporary recastings, Babalola’s writing can be researched and taught as an illustration of literary decolonisation through the complex lens of gender and race. Love in Colour places emphasis on black women as the protagonists in their love stories, in contrast to their objectification and trivialisation in white mainstream romance. (55)


The original myth, “Pyramus and Thisbe,” presents a tragic story of star-crossed lovers. However, in Babalola’s reimagined version, the lovers’ differences are overcome and their affection and mutual respect flourish. The story’s university setting and focus is especially important in terms of illustrating to students that literary study engages with their world and concerns, enabling them to experience what decolonisation might look like translated into their contexts and words. (57)