Making Space: interview with Esuantsiwa Jane Goldsmith

Making Space: an interview with author Esuantsiwa Jane Goldsmith

I interviewed author and activist Esuantsiwa Jane Goldsmith about the space where she writes, her writing process and her Mixed Race memoir The Space Between Black and White. Esuantsiwa’s memoir is published by Jacaranda Books as part of #Twentyin2020, their initiative to publish twenty Black British authors in 2020.

I first met Esuantsiwa several years ago, when we were both at the start of our writing journeys. I heard her speak on Radio 4 about what it was like growing up Mixed Race in white, working-class neighbourhoods and reconnecting with her Ghanaian heritage later in life.

I contacted her to ask if she would be happy to speak to me about her life. I was working on the first proper draft of A Book of Secrets and was very keen not to get it wrong, as a white author writing a Black protagonist. Esua’s childhood experience of growing up an ‘only one’ in white neighbourhoods closely matched Susan Charlewood’s, and the emotional effect of this must be similar despite the 400-year difference.

Esua was beginning to gather material for her memoir and reflect on her past, and she was generous enough to share her experiences with me. I can honestly say I could not have written A Book of Secrets without this generosity. Now, I am proud that our two books stand next to each other on my bookshelves!