Sarah Lee came to Sheffield Central Library yesterday to talk about her book ‘An Ocean Apart’.

The book highlights the struggles of Black people in 1950s Britain as well as the contributions made by the Windrush Generation to the NHS.

Set in the 1950s, ‘An Ocean Apart’ tells the story of characters Ruby Haynes and her sister Connie who leave Barbados to train as nurses for the new National Health Service.

Sarah Lee said: “I’m hoping that my book An Ocean Apart makes just a small discourse in black history.”

Sarah was asked to write the book as there was a call for there to be more diverse authors and more diverse stories following the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020.

Being a descendant of the Windrush Generation herself, Ms Lee said that not much is known about the history of it and that her gift is to pass it on.

During the talk, she addresses issues such as there not being enough black history on school curriculums. She said: “Black people have really been here for a long time. Black history is British history.” 

Her mother, who was a nurse during the 1950s, helped her understand colonialism at the time and how migrants are usually looked down upon.

She said: “We rarely highlight the benefits of migrants coming to Britain. The NHS, which is a national treasure, simply couldn’t function without foreign workers.”

Although the book is fictional, the experiences of her mother and some of the people she talked to inspired her whilst writing the book.

She said: “I just have a newfound respect for all the women and men who did what they did for Britain. I hope that with all the topics I’ve addressed tonight you’ll see the impact that the Windrush has had on Britain.”

‘An Ocean Apart’ is available for purchase and download.