A big crowd at Ariel for the launch

A big crowd at Ariel for the launch

Wil Roach’s memoir BLACK, GAY & UNDERAGE has already garnered general reader enthusiasm as well as invitations for the author to participate in upcoming GLBTQI activities.

Launched by Paul Capsis just over a week ago, the first part of Wil Roach’s 3-part memoir was celebrated at Ariel Bookstore in Oxford St, Darlinghurst.

Black Gay UnderageCapsis, himself a renowned theatre performer, singer and writer, was moved by the quality of Wil’s writing during his reading of an excerpt from the book.

The memoir tells a story of Wil growing up as a gay black boy in London, suffering chills from not just the weather. He learned by degrees about cultural and sexual diversity and how to bear the often harsh reactions to him from racist Anglo-Saxons.

Wil’s parents were born on the tropical island of Trinidad and his father emigrated to Britain in the early 1960s, his mother following by ship with baby Wilfred in her arms – and soon to be thrust into a severe English climate. A two-bar heater and plenty of jumpers and coats were the only way they had to survive the cold.

As a boy, Wil helped his mother as, like so many West Indian women, she pulled a shopping trolley on and off buses and through London’s famous markets, seeking out the ingredients for her special Trinidadian meals.

His father, working long hours, studied to become a lawyer and introduced Wil to his home culture as a teenager.

This special story of growing up black and gay in a mostly white heterosexual culture will draw you in without sentimentality or cant. It’s a heartfelt story written with love and compassion for self and other. Available in print and ebook formats here.

Wil Roach signs his memoir

Wil Roach signs his memoir

Wil Roach will be interviewed on Arts Tuesday on Radio 89.7fm and has received an invitation to participate in a Queer Arts Festival planned for the New England Region in July.

Wil’s writing is also included in a collection of GLBTQI stories, Living & Loving in Diversity, to be launched in Newtown later this month.

You can buy the book now – free local delivery.


Black Gay Underage launch

A clear recommendation!


Copyright: Photos Ferdinando Manzo; text Christine Williams.

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Black, Gay & Underage: A Memoir of London

By Wil Roach


In this first volume of a three part memoir, Wil Roach writes about living within a Caribbean culture in the heart of London, as a child of the ’60s through to the ’80s.

Born on the island of Trinidad and brought to the UK as a baby, Wil grew up as a gay black boy in the frosty capital of Britain, learning by degrees about cultural and sexual diversity.

Wil Roach on writing memoir

Writing enables me to give voice to my untold stories, those that have existed for longer than I can remember. Ghost stories that I thought would remain shrouded in mystery have developed my writer’s voice so that these memories are made flesh and have then taken shape on the page. Now I can see myself more clearly and without sadness.



I just finished your book. It’s brilliant! What an early life you had. I am waiting with baited breath for the next.  Billie McCarthy

A sense of fulfilment

I really felt for you, living such a segregated childhood. I felt angry at your parents until towards the end.

When, in the story, finally you wrote: ‘What a contrast with those early days at 40 Torbay Road and that little room we lived in … I felt a sense of fulfilment that my parents’ struggle and mine as a child had created this loving home.’

What a relief to read this last chapter. It was worth suffering for you, all this time, as finally you felt fine.

I loved all the details, the honesty. I thank you for writing Black Gay & Underage.

Jeanne Marie


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