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A FLY Girl’s Guide To University: Being a Woman of Colour at Cambridge and Other Institutions of Elitism and Power

ISBN: 978 1 912565 14 6

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‘Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”


In 2016 four friends wrote the book they wish they’d had as 18 year-old women of colour going to study in the elite academic institution of Cambridge University. And what a book! Wonderful, fiery, radical and brave – it uses multiple voices and forms such as memoir, polemic, poetry, critical approaches – to document their experiences as women of colour in an institution that they had each discovered failed to validate or even acknowledge their heritage, their gender, their right to see themselves in their place of study.

As a narrative and a testament, this patchwork book has been sewn together with extreme skill and moves through time as it moves through the different threads of its subject, addressing the curriculum, ways of teaching, visiting authors, student society and activism, with anger and energy and incredible readability. This book, its pace, its outrage, tells its truth in a way that is pretty much unputdownable.

The experiences in this book rarely get to be heard and as a result they are rarely accepted as real. The book articulates both the feeling and the struggle to articulate the feeling of being in spaces built for others. As such, it is the book that many many more than it’s four authors will want to read, a book that needed to be written and also needed to be published.

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