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Summary

Now with new afterword and reading group questions.

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.  

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2020 Alexandra Wilson (P)2020 Octopus Publishing Group

Critic reviews

"An absolute triumph; a compelling and courageous memoir forcing the legal profession to confront uncomfortable truths about race and class. Alexandra Wilson is a bold and vital voice. This is a book that urgently needs to be read by everyone inside, and outside, the justice system." (The Secret Barrister)

"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 Zephaniah)

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What listeners say about In Black and White

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Inspiring story of an unlikely hero

Alex’s personal and professional story should inspire those that are told are unlikely to make it to the bar: a woman, a black person, and someone with an Essex accent. The stories of her interactions with her clients help us appreciate the value of genuine diversity in the legal profession. She is a young voice speaking to inspire a new generation of unlikely heroes!

3 people found this helpful

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Everyone should read this

Gives a really good insight into the training and experiences of a new barrister. The author seems very sincere and tells very interesting stories with humility and humour. The issues regarding race both in the legal profession and those being dealt with by the criminal justice system are shocking and the author should be proud of her achievements in both her career and in raising awareness of those issues in this book.

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent read

Alexandra is such an inspiration, such a well written and insightful book from such young and well accomplished author. A book all should read if considering a career in law.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent !

This book took me on a journey of the trials and processes involved in becoming a Barrister, additionally a very young and black one. Alexandra inspires, educates and shares her very personal experience. A Great read!

1 person found this helpful

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Couldn't stop listening

Loved this book. Not only because many of the struggles the author faced are relatable to myself as a black woman but it was also fascinating to hear about the ins and outs of court, the Barrister profession as well as the shocking experiences of youths and other vulnerable people who face the problems of this system.

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Funnier than I expected!

Glad this wasn't just some gritty black-kid-who-made-it story. Genuinely interesting to hear about legal system and stories of cases are often hilarious. Nice one!

1 person found this helpful

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excellent book

everyone read it, feel a lot less ignorant about things, inspirational for many people, smart woman

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A must read

The book shows that despite the Lawrence Enquiry, racist practices still pervade institutions in this country.

This is a must read that demonstrates how and why remaining silent makes anyone complicit in this practice.


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  • 23-06-21

Excellent

The story and experiences of young, female, mixed race barrister, Alexandra Wilson.
It's an inspiring story but also tells how race and racism is relevant to the author's experience and that of her clients. Easy and enjoyable listen. Beautifully narrated. I recommend it to everyone, especially young people.

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I love this book

Alexandra made it so interesting to relate her journey as barister from minority ethnic group in diplomatic way. She tackle and give us deep analyse of the unfair system.