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Author Jaspreet Kaur gives an electrifying talk at The Grammar School at Leeds

Thursday 19 May 2022

Author Jaspreet Kaur was met by an enthusiastic audience at The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) on the northern leg of her book tour for Brown Girl Like Me recently.

The history and sociology teacher, campaigner and award-winning spoken word artist, read passages from her ground-breaking book which tackles previously taboo issues around mental health, the post-colonial immigrant experience, discrimination and menstruation. The event in the school’s Lawson library was hosted by Dr Caroline Herbert, senior lecturer in Postcolonial Literatures from Leeds Beckett University who introduced Jaspreet and held an illuminating question and answer session on stage.

Jaspreet Kaur, also known by her online handle ‘Behind the Netra’, has written an unflinching memoir of her experiences of growing up in a South Asian community in London’s East End and the challenges that face brown women across the UK today. While researching her book she interviewed 150 women, ranging from academics, writers, politicians and 80-year-old grandmothers with South Asian backgrounds, to convey their struggles, achievements and lived experiences. She wrote Brown Girl Like Me as a guidebook on how to deal with growing up ‘brown, female, marginalised and opinionated’.

Jaspreet is passionate about encouraging positive social change both in the Asian community and wider society. She has taken part in TED talks, workshops and appeared on BBC Sunday Morning Live. She won a Rising Stars Award for her work in education and academia last year and has been voted one of the Top 10 Inspirational Sikh Women in the UK.

Following the discussion, the floor was then opened out to the audience, who asked a series of fascinating questions on subjects such as the history curriculum in schools, men’s role in greater gender equality and how to encourage more discussion about menstruation and the menopause in South Asian communities.

The event included a performance of north Indian classical music by Leeds artists, Keertan Kaur and Bhavanjot Singh. Keertan sang a soothing set of Sikh devotional songs and played the harmonium. She was accompanied by her brother, Bhavanjot, on the tabla.

Following the discussion, Jaspreet Kaur signed copies of her book in the school’s theatre foyer.

Jaspreet also ran a poetry workshop for Year 8 students at GSAL earlier in the day to encourage pupils to express their feelings through verse.



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