Alexandra Wilson’s riveting memoir, In Black and White: A Young Barrister’s Story of Race and Class in a Broken Justice System is published today in paperback by Endeavour Books.
Praised by The Secret Barrister as “a compelling and courageous memoir forcing the legal profession to confront uncomfortable truths about race and class”, Alexandra’s book received incredible reception upon initial hardback publication back in 2020, being named as “One to Watch” by the Bookseller. It was also chosen as the Waterstones Best Book of August 2020, and their exclusive paperback edition includes a letter from Alexandra to her teenage self, along with a new afterword and Reading Group Questions.
The paperback edition of In Black and White will also feature a stunning new cover.
Alexandra has appeared on BBC Woman’s Hour and interviewed for BBC News and has also been featured in The Guardian, The Times, and Glamour UK, where she has further discussed her experiences as a mixed-race barrister in the legal profession and advocates that “until the law can represent everyone, it will fail”. Last summer Alexandra went viral for holding the courtroom to account for the racist behaviour she had experienced, appearing on ITV news and across the media. Alexandra discusses more about this and her experiences with racism in the legal system, and advocating for change in her new article for The Guardian, which you can read here.
Alexandra Wilson was a teenager when her dear family friend Ayo was stabbed on his way home from football. Ayo’s death changed Alexandra. She felt compelled to enter the legal profession in search of answers.
As a junior criminal and family law barrister, Alexandra finds herself navigating a world and a set of rules designed by a privileged few. A world in which fellow barristers sigh with relief when a racist judge retires: ‘I’ve got a black kid today and he would have had no hope’.
In her debut book, In Black and White, Alexandra re-creates the tense courtroom scenes, the heart-breaking meetings with teenage clients, and the moments of frustration and triumph that make up a young barrister’s life.
Alexandra shows us how it feels to defend someone who hates the colour of your skin, or someone you suspect is guilty. We see what it is like for children coerced into county line drug deals and the damage that can be caused when we criminalise teenagers.
Alexandra’s account of what she has witnessed as a young mixed-race barrister is in equal parts shocking, compelling, confounding and powerful.
In Black and White has certainly resonated with many readers and has garnered amazing praise from readers, authors and also legal representatives.
‘This is the story of a young woman who overcame all the obstacles a very old profession could throw at her, and she survived, with her integrity intact.’ –Benjamin Zephania
‘An inspirational, clear-eyed account of life as a junior barrister is made all the more exceptional by the determination, passion, humanity and drive of the author. Anyone interested in seeing how the law really works should read it.’ – Sarah Langford
‘The personal narrative of a young female lawyer of mixed heritage who is defying the soft bigotry of low expectations by sharing her journey inspires us all to do the same in our own way, and this is a powerful message which needs to be shared.’ – Dr. Tunde Okewale MBE, Founder of Urban Lawyers
‘A refreshingly honest account of the challenges faced by a young female barrister of mixed heritage’ – Judy Khan QC, Joint Head of Garden Court Chambers
A huge congratulations to Alexandra on the publication of her brilliant memoir! And if you haven’t already ordered yourself a copy of In Black and White yet, you can grab one here!