Sphere, Little, Brown Book Group – facilitated by Hodder Education – has offered every London secondary school a free copy of Lee Lawrence’s THE LOUDER I WILL SING, which won the 2020 Costa Biography award in January. The news coincides with the unveiling of a memorial to Lee’s mother, Cherry Groce, in Windrush Square, Brixton yesterday.
THE LOUDER I WILL SING tells the story of Cherry – who was wrongfully shot by police in her home in 1985 (the catalyst for the so-called Brixton riots) – and her son, Lee, the author, who saw the shooting and was only 11 at the time. We hear too many terrible stories of police racism in action, but what happens next to those closest to the incidents after the story has dropped out of the news? This book provides one such perspective. It follows Lee’s family’s struggle in the aftermath of the shooting, Lee’s experiences growing up as a young Black man in London in the shadow of that day, and his long fight to achieve justice for his mum. Not only did he eventually manage this, he now works with the police to try to find ways to bridge the gap between the police force and the community. It is a beautiful, hopeful story about what the future could hold, as well as facing up to what has happened in the past – and is continuing to happen in the present.
Lee is committed to spreading the story of what happened to his mother in the hope it will prevent it from happening again, and to inspire the police force of tomorrow to work with communities rather than against them. Little, Brown is also committed to this mission, and hopes the offer of books to London secondary schools will help communicate this worthy objective and its significance to a very important audience.
Emily Barrett, Editorial Director, said: We are all so proud of Lee and THE LOUDER I WILL SING at Little, Brown. Whilst we’re usually in the business of selling books, there are times when what’s most important is spreading the word and this is one such occasion. Little, Brown and Hachette – especially through our Changing the Story initiative – want to act in innovative ways to reach new audiences with stories that can make a difference. This was an obvious opportunity to put that thinking into action. I am so glad we have been able to do this to mark the memorial unveiling – a valuable new statue at a time when so much discussion is taking place around the relevance of those already in existence. I hope the memorial and the book will both do their part in keeping the memory of Cherry, and her legacy, alive for a long time to come.