Mallory Blackman, London, Jennifer discussed on Desert Island Discs


The flower achie- wet from lack me by to leave song by Jennifer more with, hey, Kim home. So tell me Mallory Blackman this teacher, the careers teacher, she said to you, black people don't become teachers in Dade. Yes. She was one who had to write all university references as she said to me. Okay, Mallory. What you want to do and I'd had all worked out from the time. I was seven, eight. I wanted to be an English teacher. I wanted to teach English and impart this. My love and enthusiasm for English texts and my said, well, I want to go to goes miss college. I want to do an English drama degree, and then I want to be a teacher at the end of it. And she just looked me in the eye said, well, black people that become teachers. And she said, why don't you be a secretary instead? And I looked at it and I said, I don't wanna be sexy. I want to be an English teacher. I mean, no disrespect to secretaries, but that's not what I wanted to do. And then she said, well, she said, I'm sorry, I'm giving you reference for that. And she said, besides, I don't think you're gonna get your English level, which is nonsense because I've never felt in English. In my life. And so I remember looking at home thinking while show you won't cow and if anything, it made me work harder. But then she said, I'll tell you what, I'll give you a reference to do business studies at Pauline state. And because that's the only thing he would give me a reference for as far as higher education was concerned. That's what I ended up doing. How do you look back on it now? For years for about three or four years. I wasted my life hating her 'cause I thought she'd ruined my life. I look back at it now and if I met her, I would thank her. She did me a favor because she taught me that somebody stands in the way of what you really really want to do. You don't stand there. I'll giving with them and you certainly don't let them stop you. What you do is you find a way to go around them. And so an an I, I went to college and I did my, I did been studies for half a term and then I was ill and I was rushed to hospital and had to come back down to London to recuperate. So I gave up my place at college and then I got into goldsmiths. I applied off my own bat and I got in and for one reason I never went. But the point is it proved to me that actually I could do it. I could get into university. You've talked too much Maria boats about boots and school. And I had this idea from when I was sitting. What about a socially. Gregarious teenager. Did your boyfriend's enjoyed the schools? Not really. Actually, my first serious boyfriend was when I was nineteen and he was twenty four when he's my heavy. We've been to give cocoa. But I lived in my head and I was always getting total for having too much imagination of daydreaming. Mom really versing did when I sort of eleven twelve is not go to school with them leotards and tights and separates in my bag, sort of blackout fit. And I had this special bell which I'd adopted which utility Bill and the idea being that if kidnappers ever came into the school, I would run into the toilets dome this little hard in this outfit, and I would come out and I would do some action kind of Bruce Lee so and save the day. And for two years I walked with this uniform in my son's school satchel. My even my mum's just said, you always music Mallory black when we're on your choice of morning. Well, this is what's going on by Marvin Gaye and I love what it says and it's about you need to walk in someone else's shoes to really know them, but talk to them don't assume things and God knows we need some of this today because there's so many assumptions made about other people or other religions, or other races, or cultures or whatever. And it seems to me, we're talking less, I'm you should be talking more. Pick it side. Burnish. Children. What's going on engaged? So there you were with your Leotard in your, especially that did you Tilleke belt and you decided Mallory black men that for all your English exams that had been passed and passed with flying colors, you wanted to go into computing was that when I was rushed to hospital and had my pending out, I came down to London to recuperate and I gave up my place on this business studies course because it was not for me and I applied to go Smith had an exam of exam. I had an interview and I got in and I thought I'll defer entry for year and go and work and make some money. And then I'll start at goldsmiths. I started working at software house and I'd never even touched a computer before I started working there. When with this been then this is nineteen eighty one. How big with computers. They were huge, huge. I just loved it and I gave up my place that goes missing. I stayed in computing for nine years where you secretly writing poems, not stories, and again for my own amusement. But then when I was in my mid twenties, I had enough of computing then I thought, okay, what can I do? And I tried acting causes for walnut was a dead loss, absolute rubbish. But the are used to come up with sort of scenarios for improvise ations and after what it was a man of what you think we should do. So at the end of the course a said to me, have you ever thought about writing some of your ideas down because you come up with some very good ideas, and that's how I started on my writing classes and kind of try to get into it. So then when you wanted to take that step out of a mom. Sure. Pretty well paid job in the being financial markets analyst and in fulltime into writing. Did you worry about the cash? Did you think? I will play the gas Bill was an Amine, but I, I was so unhappy. It was taking its toll on me physically and mentally. I started having really bad nightmares not as wake up screaming and I was so desperately unhappy because I wanted to write. I didn't want to work in computing anymore. And so in the end because new, my hubby could see how happy I was. We made a deal that I would take a year off and I would try just right solidly for that year and see if I could make a go of it. But if I couldn't than not have to go back to computing. So I'm right. It was eighty two rejection letters. That's really about eight or nine different books when letter ET threes sorted on't doorman. Yes, we quite might what you tell me about that day. Oh, I still remember that because in every time the potion arrived at charging stairs and it was always dear Mallory. Blattman not suitable for our list and no, thank you and I had the person I meant charging downstairs tour open the letter, and it was the amount of Blattman we would love to publish your story. And I just did in the whole screen my head. I was so thrilled. I'm my hobby came charging, says, going, what's the matter? What's the matter. Just freaked out and it was one of the best days of my life. And after my third book was executive for publication, that's when I gave up my job. There was a very new authored, I think could gave you a little bit of encouragement when you went along to have your signed. Tell me about that. The color purple by this was the first book I read by a black author that featured black characters, and that was when I was twenty two. That's a hell of an age to get to. Before you see yourself reflected in the literature you're reading. And I remember she was doing a signing at the silver moon bookshop, and I, I don't care if I have to queue up all night. I'm gonna meet this woman till I stood there with my heart that book finally got to the front of the queue, and I said, could you right? Don't give up in it, and she said, I can't that. What does that mean? And I said, well, I really want to be a writer, but I'm getting so many rejection letters and she just looked at me. She said, don't you dare give up? And she wrote to Malvy, don't give up Alice Walker and I thought, well, I can't give up now. Won't tell me. Thank you. Let's have some more music than Mallory Blackman. What are we going to hear on Europe? Sixth, yes. This is the best thing that ever happened to me by Gladys Knight. And the reason I picked this is because it's for my hobby Neil. And that's what he is. He's the best thing that ever happened to me. The

Coming up next