New Year, New Success with Bloganuary

In a few short days, you’ll surely be asked: What are your New Year’s resolutions for 2022? If starting a blogging habit is one of them, we’re here to help!  At WordPress.com, we’re trying something new for 2022. Instead of individual New Year’s resolutions, we’ll be focusing on a shared goal we can accomplish together.

Say Hello to Bloganuary

We’re running a month-long blogging challenge in January and we invite you to join us! Each day, you’ll receive a new writing prompt to inspire you to publish a post on your blog. There is no right or wrong way to respond to the prompts. Take this opportunity to exercise your creativity and have fun. Maybe you’ll choose to respond with a story, a drawing, a poem, a photo, a comic strip, a recipe, or even a playlist. Anything goes!

By participating in Bloganuary, you’ll join bloggers around the world in the shared goal of creating and/or solidifying a strong blogging habit. You’ll get access to the Bloganuary community site where you can meet and get to know others working toward similar goals. You can share tips, learn from others, reach a new audience for your blog, and make some new blogging friends.

Here’s a badge you can add to your blog to show others what you’re doing and encourage them to join in the fun. 

Join the Bloganuary challenge, stay motivated, and start the new year off on the write track!

Do you want to learn more before you join Bloganuary? Read about the challenge here.

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Live from New York … It’s State of the Word!

Yesterday saw the return to a live State of the Word annual address, broadcast to the world from our new NoHo event space in New York City! Suited up and re-energized by a recent trip to Antarctica, Matt delivered his thoughts on the state of WordPress in 2021 and made some big announcements for 2022 and beyond. Check out some highlights below or watch the entire address!

WordPress 5.9 is Coming in January

Originally slated for December 2021, the release of WordPress 5.9 was delayed until January 25 so that full site editing – which allows for greater customization and simpler site building – could be fully realized prior to the 5.9 reveal. In other exciting news, Matt shared that version 6.0 would be coming later in the year and that 2022 could very well see a total of four new releases instead of the usual three. Watch this space!

2021 WordPress.org Highlights: News, Openverse, Pattern Directory

This year, WordPress.org saw the redesign of the News page, which was inspired aesthetically by the playfulness of jazz, as well as the launch of Openverse search engine (named before Facebook’s recent name shift, we swear!). The search engine allows users to easily find openly licensed photos for their sites. There are currently more than 600 million images available on the Openverse, and early 2022 will see the addition of audio files! 

The Pattern Directory was also launched this year, where folks are able to copy and use any of its featured patterns to spice up their sites with little or no coding expertise. Starting with WordPress 5.9, users will also be able to add their own patterns to the directory, empowering them to help others create beautiful online content.

Hey, Hey, It’s the Polyglots

A sign of our ongoing commitment to global inclusivity, accessibility, and the democratization of the internet, 2021 saw a 76% increase in the language packs available as core WordPress plugins. We now have nearly 16,000 active translators in the community, which means that WordPress products can be translated into 71 different languages at release.

WordPress Powers 43% of the Internet (Actually 43.1%, But Who’s Counting?)

The company saw significant growth in 2021, and WordPress software now powers more than 43% of the internet. This year also saw nearly 12% growth in both the number of available themes and total downloads (fresh downloads, not including updates).

It’s a Block (Theme) Party!

At the end of 2020, there were only two or three fully customizable block themes available in the world. As the end of 2021 approaches, we now have 28 – a 1,000% increase! WordPress 5.8 added the ability to manage widgets in the block editor as well as a new Query Block and duotone filters, and next year will see the release of the appropriately titled Twenty Twenty-Two default block theme.

Have a Penny, Leave a Penny. Need a Penny, Take a Penny.

The Five for the Future initiative, launched in 2014, continues to be a top priority. In exchange for all of the benefits that they’ve personally received through their work, Five for the Future asks members of the WordPress community to give 5% of their time back to the community however they see fit – reporting bugs, offering translations, developing plugins or themes, designing code, offering training, etc. – which, in effect, fertilizes the soil for continued future growth.

FOMO No Mo’ 

If you missed the event’s live stream, you can watch the full address below. 

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How to Watch State of the Word 2021

Join us tomorrow for State of the Word! This year taking place live from New York City, WordPress co-founder and Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg will take a look back on the past year and share his thoughts on the latest industry trends and exciting WordPress news, including the highly anticipated January release of WordPress 5.9. 

WordPress, the open source software you can use to create beautiful websites, blogs, or apps now powers over 43% of the web. The State of the Word is the annual update on the WordPress project’s progress, plans for the future, and the future of open source. This is your first look to see what new features will be added to the WordPress software, as the features will be on WordPress.com soon. 

Those tuning in will also get to hear Matt’s take on a range of hot topics including the Openverse media search engine, Web3, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). See below for details on how to watch live. 

When:
Tuesday, December 14, at 5 pm ET (10 pm UTC)

Where:
Stream the event live at wordpress.org/news

The folks at wordpress.org have compiled a list of watch parties around the world. If you don’t see an event in your area listed below, check this page on Meetup.com to see if your local WordPress group is organizing one.

Matt’s address will be followed by a community Q&A.

Send questions in advance to ask-matt@wordcamp.org, or join the conversation live!

See you there!

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Drive More Traffic To Your Site With a “Link In Bio” Social Links Page

From your social media channels to your storefront, your YouTube channel to your website and everything in between, you have a lot of links you want your audience or your customers to be able to access easily. Social media can be a powerful driver of traffic to your blog or website. This works best when links are displayed on an easy-to-navigate list by creating a Social Links Page. While other companies offer a similar service, did you know you can use your WordPress.com site to create a Social Links Page as well? It is not only simple to create, but requires no additional cost or tools. For social media sites that only allow you to include one link in your bio, such as Instagram and Twitter, consider building a Social Links Page on your WordPress.com site. 

Miller theme links in bio block pattern to create a Social Links Page

The benefits of using your WordPress.com site to create a Social Links Page include customization, analytics tracking, and more. But the best part is that you can create this special page without having to change themes. There are a couple of options for how you might want to approach this, so let’s break each of them down.

With our “Link in Bio” Page Layouts or Block Patterns, a Linktree alternative is as simple as a few clicks.

When you create a New Page with our Block editor, you’re given a variety of Page Layouts to choose from that are divided up into sections. When you click the section for Link in Bio, you’ll see six pre-designed layouts to choose from.

Page layouts for links in bio to create a Social Links Page

Click on one of these layouts and the blocks will be placed on the page for you. Once placed, you can edit the buttons as desired. You’ll also notice that there are a variety of options available in the settings sidebar on right, you can add additional buttons using the + sign, or duplicate existing buttons.

If you want to add a Link in Bio pattern of blocks to an existing page, you can insert a new block before the existing content and then add the block pattern you want to use with the options to edit the buttons as desired.

You could also start with a blank page and add buttons to stack vertically. You could even put them into a Column block, like the example below.

Columns and buttons to create a Social Links Page

Cover Block Panels

The Cover Block is another option to consider to enhance your Social Links Page. When Cover Blocks are stacked on top of each other, they will be seamless on the live site, meaning there won’t be any white space between them (unless you add some by adding a Spacer Block between them). With the Cover Block, there are endless possibilities of what you can do with images and overlays, in addition to a wide array of settings. Watch the video below to see one example.

By building a custom Social Links Page in your WordPress.com site, you have full control over the layout and design; this includes the simplicity or complexity of the look and how many links you want on the page. 

This is a great option for driving traffic directly to your website and to specific pages within your site when your linking options are limited in social media. It can also be created on any WordPress.com plan, including the free plan, without needing any special add-ons.

The Link in Bio page layouts/block patterns and the Cover Block Panel options are both effective in adding a Social Links Page, which will ultimately help the user experience when navigating between your different platforms. The ability to add customization to your Social Links Page will also help you to relay your brand and personality to your users, while the analytics will all be readily available in the back end of your WordPress.com site, at no additional cost to the user. WordPress.com is very extensible, and creating a Social Links Page is simple for all users with no additional tools needed! All of this is possible on WordPress.com, and we are proud to take you a step closer to organizing all of your unique platforms in a seamless and reliable way.

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Betula Nana (Granada)

Comida de primer nivel

Un pequeño restaurante de un altísimo nivel, con una carta pequeña, pero incluso para michelin. El servicio y atenciones han sido espectaculares. La calidad de la comida muy buena: tortilla negra,rissoto, tataki, steack, y que decir de los postres.

Es de esos lugares a los que vas y ningún plato te decepciona, te sientes con todas las expectativas cumplidas. Altamente recomendable, un gran descubrimiento que te deja sin palabras para definir esta experiencia culinaria.

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Shining a Spotlight on Podcasts

As we near the end of 2021, it is interesting to note that there are currently over two million podcasts and over 48 million podcast episodes. Those numbers are incredible on their own, but when you realize that just 4 years ago, there were “only” a little more than half a million podcasts, the growth is astonishing. Those numbers might make you think that the podcast market is saturated, but that is definitely not the case. 

The growth of available podcasts is driven by the increase in interest. More and more people are tuning in to the phenomenon as they explore the vast podcast topics available to them.

Despite the number of podcasts being broadcast today, there is still plenty of room for newcomers to the market. Just as there are many websites for every imaginable interest, there’s room for podcasts in even the tiniest of niches. 

To prove this point, we’ll highlight some of our favorite podcasts hosted right here on WordPress.com. What? You didn’t know you could host a podcast on WordPress.com? Well, pull up a chair and check this out. You might find a new fave podcast of your own, and better still, you might even find some inspiration for creating a podcast yourself! Let’s go!

A Podcast for Every Interest

Obviously, we can’t list the millions of niches here, but we can showcase a few that range across a broad spectrum of interest. Here are 7 that have caught our attention here on WordPress.com.

Love to Sew

If you totally relate to the title of this podcast, then you should tune in. The hosts of Love to Sew, Helen and Caroline, are active members of the sewing community. They understand the need to connect and bring that understanding to each episode. In their words…

Our episodes are a mix of technical sewing advice, inspirational storytelling, unpacking feelings around sewing and creating, and loads of words of encouragement.


The Purple Rock Survivor Podcast

Billed as the “The smartest, funniest, most humble, and best Survivor podcast on the internet,” this podcast focuses on discussions of the hit television show “Survivor”. The hosts, John and Andy, along with frequent guest hosts, debate the latest Survivor episode antics each week. As all great armchair quarterbacks do, they use their stellar 20-20 hindsight to diss players, alliances, and the various decisions that caused the latest player to get booted off the show. If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll feel right at home listening to this podcast.


The Premier View Tipperary GAA Podcast

The perfect example of targeting a seriously narrow niche, this podcast brilliantly focuses on topics most people may not know exist. These topics include Tipperary GAA, Club and County, Hurling, Gaelic Football, Ladies Football and Camogie. If you’re like me, you’ve possibly heard of Hurling (the sport), and can probably guess at what Gaelic and Ladies Football is all about, but in most parts of the world, you may not know a thing about GAA, Club and County, or Camogie. I think it’s fair to say, however, that the people who DO know what those sports are all about, are probably thrilled to know that there is a podcast out there that caters just to them.  For the rest of us, let’s just simplify and call it “various sports that are local to a specific Irish region”. If you’re into these sports, or just curious, hurl yourself into a comfy chair and get your listen on.


The New Home Owner Podcast

Targeting a specific group of people, new homeowners, this podcast delivers tips and advice surrounding the entire new home building process – from signing contracts to adding the final finishing touches. This is a great example of how a brick-and-mortar business can share its expertise with visitors, while potentially acquiring new clients. When people acquire valuable information from a business, they inherently trust that business a little more than before. Building trust is a great way to convert visitors into clients. 


Sneaker History

Did you know that there is a passionate sneaker community out there? Sneakers have a history and have become a part of pop culture. This podcast’s goal is to “make a positive impact on the sneaker community, culture, and business of sneakers by telling the stories of the people that make this passion enjoyable”. Episodes are gated, meaning you must be a paying member to access them, but if you’re a sneakerhead, this won’t deter you. And if you are just interested in starting your own podcast, your ears will perk up to know that podcasts can be monetized like this. Nice, right?


Travel Babies

No, this podcast doesn’t focus on babies at all. It is an adventure-filled look at the experiences of two sisters traveling the world. You’ll get their expert take on all things travel, including tips and tricks for making your worldwide jaunts much more enjoyable. “Each week they talk about important travel topics to help you decide when, where, and how to explore the world in style.


Kyla Marie Charles MomChat Mondays

If you were bummed that the Travel Babies podcast wasn’t about babies, never fear, MomChat Mondays has you covered. Their own description says it best. “A LIVE #MomChatMonday hosted by Kyla Marie Charles and Amy Eilers of House of Eilers bringing all sorts of moms together to chat about motherhood topics from mundane to controversial. No shame, no judgement, just talking with mom friends and figuring it all out as we go– as moms do!


Of course, these 7 podcasts are just a smattering of cool audible content available on WordPress.com. So tell us, have you ever thought about hosting your own podcast? If so, we have lots of tips and advice to help you succeed. You can start with a few of the posts we’ve shared on the subject, including:

We’ve shown how diverse podcasts can be, but it’s more than just topic diversity that sets a podcast apart. If you are considering starting a podcast, there are some other aspects to consider.

Types of Podcasts (Make It Yours)

No matter the topic, there are various ways to format or organize your podcast. Some subjects lend themselves more closely to one or another way, but many topics are open to multiple presentation formats. Consider the following formats to determine which might work best for you and your topic.

  • Interviews – Some podcasts primarily center around interviews with either famous people or topic experts. 
  • Conversations or Roundtable – In industries where change happens frequently, podcasters often choose a roundtable or conversational format. This style provides a group of hosts, who often know each other well, a chance to converse about trending news or perhaps even a bit of industry gossip. 
  • Monologues – Subject matter experts frequently use this format to inform or teach the audience about various aspects of the niche topic.
  • Storytelling or Theatrical – Rather than conversations, these podcasts are performances. The storytelling format usually involves one host reading chapters or episodes of a story, interspersed with commentary. True crime stories fit this model well. A podcast with a theatrical format is usually a full-blown production with multiple voices/actors. These are like plays, without the visuals.

Of course, some podcasts might be a mix of the above formats from episode to episode, but the most successful will likely stick pretty closely to one format. This consistency provides your audience with a familiar sense of place. Suppose someone enjoyed a storytelling type of format in one episode. In that case, they’d likely hope to experience more of the same in future episodes.

Podcaster Personality Styles (Be Yourself)

Once you’ve figured out the podcast’s topic and style, there’s one more crucial element – you! Great content, told in an interesting format, is lovely, but in the end, it’s your personality that people really want to connect with. Don’t let that worry you. If you weren’t the most popular kid in the class, that wouldn’t stop you from connecting with an audience with your own personality brand. Let’s take a quick look at some examples.

We’ve seen that some topics work better with certain formats than with others, and the same can be true of personalities. A monologue podcast focused on teaching the fine details of investing might not work as well with a goofy personality type. Then again, that odd combination might actually be a huge winner. Who knows? But for most podcasts, matching the topic with an appropriate format and personality type makes the most sense.

A few typical personality types include:

  • Serious
  • Informative
  • Casual, fun, and goofy
  • Comedic

Casual, fun types work well for entertainment topics. Serious types match well with true crime storytelling, for example, and informative, no-nonsense types click with business or educational topics. You know your topic and your personality best. Find the sweet spot that makes sense to you, and it will likely appeal to others as well.

So let’s put all of this together. Follow our recipe for podcasting success but feel free to throw in your own “seasoning” to truly make it yours.

A Recipe for Podcasting Success

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New: Free Blogging Course

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a full year since we launched WPCourses.com! In that short time, we’ve been incredibly inspired by the group of ambitious learners we have been able to work with. In fact, we’ve been so moved by the enthusiasm of the community we’ve built so far that we want to ensure this experience is available to as many people as possible.

So we’re happy to announce the launch of our very first free course, Intro to Blogging. In this course you’ll learn about: 

  • What blogging is and why so many people are doing it.
  • How to set up, navigate, and manage your blog or website. 
  • How to create blog content like a pro and create a site people love to visit.
  • How to identify your audience, set goals, and build your own blogging strategy.
Illustration of site editor and paint brush.

By signing up you’ll get access to our course platform where you can work through each lesson at your own pace and take your time to really put that information to use as you build, design, or revamp your site.

We also used our time building out the free course as an opportunity to improve our existing content. We went back through all of our resources, added new lessons and tips, and expanded our curriculum to make sure participants are fully equipped with the most up-to-date set of tools, strategies, and best practices. Our rapid courses offer a more hands-on learning experience where you’ll benefit from: 

  • Helpful tips and tricks that are shared and discussed every week. 
  • Prompts and ideas to help you get unstuck when you need it. 
  • A community of peers who grow and learn with you. 
  • Weekly office hours when you can chat with experts and ask questions in real time.
  • Quarterly meetups led by true industry experts to ensure you’re using the best tools and strategies to grow.

As a way to celebrate the launch of our free course, we’re also offering 25% off our paid courses— just use the coupon code below at checkout. You’ll get access to the course and the community for a full year so feel free to jump in when you’re ready.

time2learn

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VideoPress Remake

Introducing the new VideoPress. Still the finest video service for WordPress—now even better.

Video is one of the most powerful tools on the web. It can spark ideas, emotions, conversations, sales, and much more. VideoPress already offers people the ability to upload and serve hours of high-quality video flawlessly around the globe, ad-free. But VideoPress should inspire people to create and share their best ideas as well. 

Now it does. The refreshed player offers creators an intuitive, lightweight design that puts their content in the spotlight.

Creating doesn’t always come easily, so sharing should be a breeze. That’s why VideoPress is fully integrated with the WordPress editor. From effortless drag-and-drop options to broad customization, every feature within VideoPress can be experienced on your WordPress site, without redirecting audiences to external apps. 

Here are just some of the new options available on VideoPress—with many more to come: 

  • Customizable player with colors that match your site’s design.
  • Adaptive bitrates to deliver high-quality playback at great performance speeds.
  • Picture-in-picture and variable playback speeds.
  • Private video options let you offer exclusive content to subscribers.
  • Multi-user access for easier collaboration.
  • Unlimited hosting with WordPress.com or Jetpack plans.
  • No intrusive ads or imposing branding.

With an immersive design and seamless integration, VideoPress is ideal for any videographer, filmmaker, educator, or blogger looking to upload high-quality video—an elevated player for elevated content.

It’s an exciting time for video content, and even more exciting for VideoPress: We’re working on better uploads, smoother library navigation, subtitles, and more. So stay tuned. There’s more coming soon.

VideoPress is included in our Premium, Business and eCommerce plans on WordPress.com. And if you’re self-hosted site, you can get VideoPress through Jetpack, now available as a standalone product.

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Behind the Scenes: The Tech Stack of the WordPress.com Growth Summit

Recently, we hosted our second annual WordPress.com Growth Summit and welcomed over 1,300 attendees at the event. The summit was fully online, and it built on the momentum of our inaugural Growth Summit in 2020 after hearing from you, our community, that another conference would be a great learning and networking opportunity for people looking to grow their WordPress.com sites. Based on the positive feedback from last year, this year’s programming continued to be customer-focused by highlighting people — just like you! — who started sites and businesses on WordPress.com and have seen them flourish.

We also changed up the tech stack we used, which allowed us to offer a better user experience and to improve the process of selling tickets and, later, access to recorded videos from the event. If you enjoy building sites with WordPress, tinkering around with design and functionality, I’m pleased to share a behind-the-scenes look at how we got our Growth Summit site to work for us. This explanation might be especially helpful if you’re trying to sell registrations on your site and/or restrict access to content behind a paywall.

Selling Tickets

At WordPress.com, we love to use plugins when building sites, and installing a number of them on the Growth Summit site made ticket sales a breeze for customers.

  • First, we installed the WooCommerce plugin on our WordPress.com site and created a ticket as a simple product in the store catalog. Nothing fancy, just a title and a price. From a design perspective, we determined that it wasn’t ideal to have potential conference attendees visit the product page, so we configured the call-to-action button on the homepage to automatically add a ticket to a visitor’s cart and send them straight to the checkout page. 
  • Then, using Zapier and its WooCommerce extension, we configured a “zap” that was triggered whenever a customer bought a ticket, which in turn alerted Hopin — the virtual event software platform we chose to host the Growth Summit — to create a new attendee registration. 
  • In an effort to simplify the checkout process, and hopefully increase conversion rates, we used the WooCommerce Checkout Field Editor plugin to remove a number of default fields, such as billing street address, phone number, and order comments. We were also able to customize the field layout so that it took up less “real estate” on the checkout page.
  • The MailPoet plugin allowed us to customize the content of the default WooCommerce emails for completed order confirmations. Sure, we could have installed a child theme and then used custom templates to put the text we wanted in the message, but the MailPoet plugin was free for our purposes. Plus we can use it for email marketing campaigns in the future, should we choose.

On-Demand Video Access

Leading up to the Growth Summit, our focus was on driving attendance to the live event. Once the conference wrapped up, we shifted focus to providing access to recordings of Growth Summit sessions for attendees who wanted to watch on demand, and for people who missed the event but wanted to experience it firsthand. With the WooCommerce Memberships extension, we put the videos behind a paywall — in other words, you have to have a membership to view them. To sell memberships, we’re using the same WooCommerce product we used to sell tickets. We just changed its configuration so that buying the product adds the customer to a membership plan that grants access to video content from all the sessions in 2020 and 2021. Additionally, we ensured that anyone who bought a ticket to the live event would get a year of on-demand access automatically. 

Site Design

Aesthetics are as important as functionality. We built the Growth Summit site with the Twenty Twenty-One theme. The homepage uses Gutenberg blocks. Some of the common blocks are Cover, Layout Grid, and Columns. We also used some custom CSS code to tweak the design to suit our needs. 

That’s pretty much it. Did you miss the Growth Summit? Use the coupon code behindthescenes to get 25% off on-demand access to all the video recordings from 2020 and 2021, now through August 2022!

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Celebrating UK Black History Month: Learning Resources, a Read & Watch List, and Content Creation Tools

This year’s UK Black History Month theme, Proud To Be, is about celebrating the Black experience. As a distributed company with employees around the world, including the United Kingdom, we believe that the more perspectives we embrace, and the more we learn about our teammates, the better we are at engaging and helping our global community. 

This October, we encourage individuals and organizations to learn more about Black history, heritage, and culture in the UK. “Black British history is British history. It’s more than a month; it is interwoven in everything,” says Ama, a colleague based in Scotland. “We have changed landscapes in education, law, politics, work, and equality for all within the UK.” Black history is deeply embedded in UK culture, says Ama, from institutions — like the National Health Service — to music, sports, art, media, and popular culture.

Interested in learning more? We’ve compiled a list of staff recommendations:

Explore these resources this month — or bookmark them for learning and inspiration anytime.

#PoweredByWordPress learning resources

From the official UK Black History Month hub to the website of the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation, these resources are great starting points for your journey.

Black History Month 2021

All year long, Black History Month publishes news, features, career and education information, and event listings across the UK. Make it your first resource for getting educated and involved.

Black Heroes Foundation

Focused on youth education and development, this London-based community charity raises Black cultural awareness of the general public, educating and uplifting youth in particular. The foundation envisions a world where Black heroes are acknowledged, respected, and celebrated.

Stephen Lawrence Day

The 1993 murder and case of Stephen Lawrence — an 18-year-old from southeast London who was killed in an unprovoked racial attack while waiting for the bus — led to a major shift in the UK in attitudes about racism, the criminal justice system, and the role of the police. The Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation continues to tell Stephen’s story, offers resources for educators and organizers, and works toward creating a just society.

The National Archives

The National Archives is the official archive and publisher of the UK government, documenting over 1000 years of history. Researchers can browse the Black British history section of the website for a guide on social and political history in the 20th century, lots of blog and multimedia content, and records relating to British citizens of African and African-Caribbean descent.

Black History Walks

Partnering with museums, schools, and other institutions, Black History Walks offers a dozen walking tours throughout London, public monthly educational talks, and video courses and resources on Black history. Its diverse programming targets a range of people both in person and online, from students to travelers to businesses.

A read & watch syllabus

Looking for book, TV, and film recommendations about Black history and culture in the UK — or by Black scholars and creators — but aren’t sure where to start? Here are some of our nonfiction, fiction, and film and television picks.

Nonfiction

  • Black and British: A Forgotten History: Published to accompany the BBC Two series noted in the Film and Television section below, this must-read book by historian David Olusoga examines the shared history between the British Isles and the people of Africa.
  • 100 Great Black Britons: In this book, Patrick Vernon and Angelina Osborne — founders of the 100 Great Black Britons campaign — celebrate Black British history and recognize key Black Britons who have helped to shape Great Britain.
  • Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging: A hybrid of history and memoir, Afua Hirsch’s book “reveals the identity crisis at the heart of Britain today” and explores a nation in denial about its imperial past and present.
  • This Is Why I Resist: Don’t Define My Black Identity: In a book that demands fundamental change, activist and lawyer Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu examines the roots of racism and anti-Blackness and calls for meaningful action.
  • The Louder I Will Sing: A Story of Racism, Riots and Redemption: In 1985, when Lee Lawrence was a child, his mother was wrongfully shot by police during a raid on their home in Brixton. Published more than three decades later, his memoir chronicles what it was like to grow up as a young Black man in England and how that day influenced his family.
  • In Black and White: A Young Barrister’s Story of Race and Class in a Broken Justice System: Experiencing a tragedy as a teenager pushed Alexander Wilson to become a barrister — a type of lawyer — so she could make a difference within an unjust system. Her debut book describes her experience as a mixed-race woman in a field lacking in diverse representation.
  • Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire: In this book, author and hip-hop artist Akala blends biography and personal experience with an examination of race and class across topics — from education to politics and the police to the far right.
  • Misfits: A Personal Manifesto: This “coming-to-power manifesto” by Michaela Coel — the actress, writer, and creator of I May Destroy You — builds on an inspiring keynote address she delivered at the 2018 Edinburgh International Television Festival about resilience, empathy, storytelling, and growing up in public housing in East London.
  • What a Time to Be Alone: The Slumflower’s Guide to Why You Are Already Enough: In this illustrated self-help guide, author and influencer Chidera Eggerue, also known as the Slumflower, writes about self-love, empowerment, and creating your own narrative. The book also includes Igbo proverbs from Eggerue’s Nigerian mother.

I recommend David Olusoga’s Black and British: A Forgotten History. It’s a really important book, with new updates on the Windrush scandal and Black Lives Matter from the UK perspective.

—Victoria Jones, UK

Fiction

  • White Teeth: Published over 20 years ago, Zadie Smith’s debut novel focuses on the lives of two unlikely friends and their families in London. Considered a “modern classic of multicultural Britain,” the book is a window into the immigrant experience.
  • Girl, Woman, Other: Weaving a dozen narratives about different people across ages, backgrounds, and professions, Bernardine Evaristo examines topics of identity, race, and womanhood in modern Britain.
  • Love in Colour: This collection of short stories by author Bolu Babalola reimagines ancient love stories and folktales from around the world, from Greek myths to Middle Eastern legends, and centers Black women and strong female characters.
  • Queenie: This sharp and funny novel by Candice Carty-Williams is about the life of Queenie Jenkins, a mid-twenties British Jamaican woman living in London who’s struggling to find her place in the world.
  • Such a Fun Age: One night, a supermarket security guard sees a young Black woman, Emira Tucker, in the aisles with a white toddler. The guard accuses Emira of kidnapping, when in reality she’s the babysitter. In this novel, Kiley Reid takes a look at race, class, power dynamics, and privilege.

I’ve greatly valued Zadie Smith’s work. Her novels — especially White Teeth — are well crafted and offer a mix of comedy and realism that often focuses on social class in England. Her essays are things of beauty. She’s worth a read, no matter the month.

Daryl L. L. Houston, USA

Film and Television

  • Black and British: A Forgotten History: This BBC Two series by David Olusoga, composed of four episodes, looks at the relationship between Britain and people of African origins, slavery, and Black British identity in the 20th century.
  • Small Axe: In this anthology of five films, 12 Years a Slave filmmaker Steve McQueen brings to life the stories of West Indian immigrants in London from the 1960s to 1980s.
  • Black Power: A British Story of Resistance: This hour-and-a-half documentary includes interviews with activists involved in Britain’s Black Power movement in the late 1960s. (The BBC’s larger collection of programming for Black History Month is also worth browsing.)
  • I May Destroy You: Michaela Coel’s recent Emmy-winning drama series is about a promising young writer, Arabella, who is sexually assaulted one night while out with her friends. The show explores consent and trauma, and stars a primarily Black British cast.
  • Black and Welsh: Cardiff-born filmmaker Liana Stewart brings together people from across Wales to highlight its multiculturalism and to share stories from community members about what it means to be Black and Welsh.
  • Hair Power: Me and My Afro: Irish writer and broadcaster Emma Dabiri has intimate conversations with both men and women about their hair, digging into how and why Afro and Black hair is an important and complex aspect of the Black experience.
  • Highlife: This premium reality TV show follows the lives of eight successful, glamorous British West Africans and depicts a different angle of Black life in the UK.
  • Desmond’s: Originally running from 1989 to 1994, this sitcom was set in a barbershop in Peckham, southeast London, and featured a mostly Black British Guyanese cast.

Blog and website resources

Lean on these resources, tools, and organizations during UK Black History Month — and beyond — to publish content on your site that’s fitting for your audience, or to connect with and collaborate with others.

Would you like to recommend a website on WordPress, writing or media by a Black thinker or creator in the UK, or another resource? Tell us in the comments.

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