Color Me English

Reflections on Migration and Belonging

Enchanting and provocative explorations of culture, race, and identity by the highly acclaimed British Caribbean winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize

Color Me English is the latest (humbling and haunting) piece in a grand, lifelong monument Caryl Phillips is fashioning, to show us who we’ve become and to ask us what that will and must mean.”
—Pico Iyer, author of The Global Soul

An “arresting . . . bracing and affecting volume” (Booklist) that “brims with curiosity and cosmopolitanism” (Publishers Weekly), Color Me English was hailed in the Guardian as one of the best books of 2011 by Blake Morrison. This compilation of essays from award-winning author Caryl Phillps is “a polymorphous delight that always retains at its core the notion of identity: how it is constructed, how it is thrust upon us, how we can change it” (The Independent).

A bold reflection on race and culture across national boundaries, Color Me English includes touching stories from Phillips’s childhood in England; his years living and teaching in the United States during the turbulent times of 9/11; and his travels across Europe and Africa, where he engages with legendary writers James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Chinua Achebe, and Ha Jin. Featured on radio programs including The Leonard Lopate Show and The Diane Rehm Show and covered in Salon, the Huffington Post, and Essence, Color Me English is a stunning collection from Phillips, who “writes wonderfully crafted, deeply meditative treatises . . . [that are] always interesting and informative” (Quarterly Black Review).


“With the elegance and maturity of a prize-winning author . . . Phillips lives, breathes, and masterfully teases into prose the singular dilemma of the outsider.”
The Boston Globe
“[Phillips] writes wonderfully crafted, deeply meditative treatises on the black experience in a global and historical sense. . . . [He is] intellectual and reflective but always interesting and informative.”
Quarterly Black Review
“[Phillips is] an insightful and sympathetic chronicler of race, British identity, and the immigrant experience.”
The Christian Science Monitor

Goodreads Reviews