Courttia Newland

was born in Hammersmith, west London in 1973. He published his first novel, The Scholar, in 1998, at the age of twenty three. Set in West London, its narrative reflects and represents the modern black british experience. He has said that "everything I write is going to be about being a Black Londoner".

Newland became interested in words and their power chiefly through Hip-Hop, rapping from the ages of eight to eighteen. This led to an interest in black literature. His approach to history is clear, not placing an emphasis on particular aspects, but allowing everything to exist as history. It is important to him as author and individual to keep a record of experience, a history, a personal but essential record.

One of his most recent books include the novel The Dying Wish (2006), and a collection of macabre short stories, Music for the Off-Key (2006). In 2007 he was shortlisted for the Crime Writers' Association Dagger in the Library Award.

The modernity in Newland's work is also typical of a new school of emerging literature, characteristic of a shift of emphasis in form, content and understanding. Newland's work does not negate its rich literary heritage but builds on it : "It's about change, but not about changing your whole culture".

Everybody has a different point of view. My view is from a young person who was born here. That's the story I have to tell.