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Andrea Levy
Andrea Levy was born in in London in 1956 to Jamaican immigrants. Growing up, she'd always preferred to read non-fiction, believing that it gave the reader knowledge of greater worth than fiction. But at twenty-three she read The Women's Room by Marilyn French. It profoundly influenced her understanding of fiction and in her early thirties she began to write fiction herself. Her novels are about being black and British and aim to inform her readers as well as entertain.

Her first novel, Every Light in the House Burnin' (1994) is about the story of a Jamaican family in 1960s London, and her next two books Never Far from Nowhere  (1996) and Fruit of the Lemon (1999) also look at themes of identity and culture.

Andrea Levy's fourth novel, Small Island (2004) is set in London in 1948. It tells the story of a white landlady, Queenie Bligh, whose neighbours don't approve when she takes in Jamaican lodgers, and the racist treatment of Commonwealth men who risked their lives to join the fight against Hitler.  Small Island won the Orange Prize for Fiction, was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel award, and in 2005 it was voted Best of the Best - the best Orange Prize for Fiction winner over the 10 years that the Prize had been running.

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