Courttia Newland

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Courttia Newland (born 25 August 1973) is a British writer of Jamaican and Bajan heritage.[1]


Newland grew up in Shepherd's Bush, west London, where he became a rapper and music producer who, together with friends, released a Drum n' Bass white label. In 1997 he published his first novel, The Scholar. Further novels followed, including Society Within and Snakeskin.

Newland wrote his first play, Estates of Mind, in 1998. His second play, an adaptation of Euripides' The Women of Troy, was a success at the 1999 Edinburgh Festival. His third play was The Far Side (2000).[2]

In 2000 he co-edited (with Kadija Sesay) the anthology IC3: The Penguin Book of New Black Writing in Britain, and his short stories have featured in many other anthologies, including The Time Out Book of London Short Stories: Vol 2, England Calling:24 Stories for the 21st Century and Disco 2000. He co-edited The Global Village (2009) with Monique Roffey.

Newland tours extensively for the British Council, and has been writer-in-residence for Trinity College, Dublin and Georgetown University, Washington DC. He has also been a writer-in-residence for the charity First Story. He has taught creative writing workshops and performed readings in countries as diverse as Russia, Gambia, and Singapore.

He was shortlisted for the 2007 Crime Writers' Association Dagger in the Library Award, the 2010 Alfred Fagon Award and longlisted for the 2011 Frank O' Conner Award.

Newland was a co-writer for Steve McQueen's five-part anthology film series Small Axe broadcast in November 2020.[3][4]


  • The Scholar (London: Abacus, 1997)[5]
  • Society Within (London: Abacus, 1999)
  • Snakeskin (London: Abacus, 2002)[6]
  • The Dying Wish: A James and Sinclair Mystery (London: Abacus 2006)
  • Music for the Off-Key: 12 Macabre Short Stories (London: Peepal Tree Press, 2006)
  • The Global Village (2009)
  • A Book of Blues (2011)
  • The Gospel According to Cane (2013)[5]
  • A River Called Time (2021)[7]

Play productions[edit]

  • Estates of Mind, London, The Post Office Theatre, July 1998;
  • Women of Troy 2099, London, The Post Office Theatre, 31 July 1999;
  • The Far Side, London, The Tricycle Theatre, Summer 13 August 2000; London, The Tabernacle Community Centre, 22 October 2001;
  • Mother’s Day, Hammersmith, The Lyric Theatre, 16 September 2002;
  • B is for Black, London, Oval House Theatre, 14 October 2003;
  • Whistling Maggie, London, Oval House Theatre Upstairs, 29 November 2005; different production 13 June 2006;
  • Sweet Yam Kisses, Hammersmith, The Lyric Theatre, 11 February 2006.
  • Look to the Sky, National Tour, October-Nov 2011

Produced stories[edit]

  • An Age Old Problem, 10-minute motion picture, Brent Youth Arts Service Crime Diversion Project, Massive Video, 1996;
  • Rage, 10-minute motion picture, written and directed by Newland, Massive Video, 1997;

Further reading[edit]

  • Bentley, Nick. "Courttia Newland, Society Within". In Contemporary British Fiction (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008), 75–83. ISBN 978-0-7486-2420-1.


  1. ^ Judah, Hettie (30 June 1999). "Word on the street". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  2. ^ Sesay, Kadija (2002). "Newland, Courttia". In Alison Donnell (ed.). Companion to Contemporary Black British Culture. Routledge. p. 219. ISBN 978-1-134-70025-7.
  3. ^ "Small Axe – writer Courttia Newland on his 'Lovers Rock' and 'Red, White and Blue' dramas in the series: 'We are edging towards a renaissance'". Asian Culture Vulture. 22 November 2020. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  4. ^ White, Nadine (22 November 2020). "'It Gave Us A Sense Of Identity': Lovers Rock Stars On The Soft Reggae Soundtrack Of Small Axe". HuffPost. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  5. ^ a b Evaristo, Bernardine (1 March 2013). "The Gospel According to Cane by Courttia Newland – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  6. ^ Clark, Alex (26 April 2002). "Review: Snakeskin by Courttia Newland". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 3 July 2020 – via
  7. ^ "A River Called Time by Courttia Newland - Canongate Books". Retrieved 15 November 2020.

External links[edit]