Acclaimed West London author Courttia Newland was invited by P2P and the Wornington Green Team on Thursday 30 June 2011 for a special evening entitled Example of Success.
Long before the array of West London movies such as Adulthood, Kidulthood and Anuva Hood, a young 23 year old put West London under the spotlight with his critically acclaimed debut novel The Scholar.
At a time when most inner city literature focused on AfricanCaribbean migrants trying to adapt to Britain, Courttia was the first author who spoke for the new generation of Black Britons that were born on these shores.
Despite giving readings to literary enthusiasts all over the world for the past 15 years, Courttia had yet to come back to his native West London until he accepted an invite from the Wornington Green Team and P2P.
In a room full to bursting with local residents, Courttia spoke with affection about his West London roots and its influence in shaping him. As a teenager he wanted to be a rapper but kept on being complimented for his writing ability. Finally, he believed that writing and selling a novel could help him raise enough money to record an album. However, by the time he finished writing The Scholar he was hooked on writing and went on to produce other books including Society Within and Snakeskin. He has since published a collection of short stories, has produced numerous plays, including Society Within, which was converted into the BBC drama
The P2P and Wornington Green Team were particularly keen to demonstrate a living example of success. “We always talk about success”, said Youth Engagement Practitioner, Andrew Togobo aka Tuggs, “However it is important that we show a living example of someone that grew around the same streets, got up to the same activities as the young people here, but when he began to focus, everything around him changed, starting with himself. He decided he could be an acclaimed author and he did everything necessary to ensure his stories get told. And all this was done without him completing formal education or having a degree. He learnt on the job, and he is hoping soon to be a lecturer for Kings University in creative writing. Courttia is a living example to everything we wish to convey to the participants of the P2P My-I-Can Program.”