What is the first anti-apartheid novel?
Alan Paton's Cry, The Beloved Country (1948) was my starting point.
We were having an argument at the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, Alabama, which commemorates the days when this city was known as the Johannesburg of America for the severity of its segregation laws.
Survivors of the struggle have been gathering this weekend for the creation of a 'national monument' today of the 16th Street Baptist Church, where four young girls died in a 1963 bombing which did more than any other white supremacist crime to bring the end of legally enforced segregation here.
The Institute does not offer much in the way of fictional memorials to the Civil Rights movement. I hope to find more suggestions as to what I might read.
As for the South African anti-apartheid pioneers, whose own victory took a litle longer, I discover that the London bookseller, Peter Ellis, offers a much older campaigning novel than Paton's.
In his latest catalogue he puts forward the name the name of 'Drifting to Destruction' by a certain Sydney G. Attwell, published in 1927.
In the foreword Attwell writes: "In this narrative I have ventured to predict the awful consequences if the present policy of the South African whites is not altered".
He later apparently emigrated to New Zealand "because of the dark outlook".
Ellis's copy bears two publishing marks from 1927 - of Henry Walker and of Ouseley.
The only other copy that I have been able to track - being reluctant to pay Mr Ellis his £125 without further investigation - is in Trinity College, Dublin.
Doubtless there are others - though a cursory look from here has not found one nor much in the way of information.
There is a total Google blank - although Attwell, it seems, also published a hand-printed book six years later called Kyamdaka.
Does anyone know any more?