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Bring It On: A Guide to Navigating Local Media

Published: 29 Jun 2017  - updated: 7 Dec 2018

Bring on the Blacks author Desmond Ward discusses his experiences with local media in Bristol.

Bring on the Blacks was intended initially to be a light-hearted account of my time working as a conductor and then as a driver for various bus companies in Britain. 

However, I narrowed it down to the years in the sixties when I worked on the Bristol buses. This covered the period when the Bristol Omnibus Company operated its infamous colour bar and the subsequent boycott of the buses organised by Paul Stephenson. I realised that I could not really write a realistic novel about life on the Bristol buses in the early sixties and ignore these two pivotal events.

It is astonishing how many young people, and indeed, older people too, living in Bristol, have never heard of the Bristol bus boycott of 1963 and are amazed when they learn that it was quite within the law at that time to refuse a job to a black person merely because of his or her colour. It was because of the events around the Bristol bus company’s colour bar that led directly to the passing of the Race Relations Act of 1965.

The action of my book, Bring on the Blacks, takes place wholly within Bristol, therefore my target audience is largely Bristolians. Whilst Bring on the Blacks gives a fascinating insight into how a big city bus fleet operated in the 1960s the story also has a very strong race relations perspective. It widens out to touch on world events, the struggles of women for equality, and the life and hardships of working-class Bristol locals.

In promoting my book, I have had three interviews with local media, (Ujima radio, Radio Bristol and Made in Bristol TV). Having never done an interview before I was a little apprehensive, but found that the interviewers gave me great assistance and guidance. Roger Griffith, the boss of Ujima radio appeared alongside me for the Made in Bristol TV interview and his presence and support gave me great confidence.

I have no immediate plans to seek further interviews, but am always available if any organisation should wish me to talk about my book, my career on the buses or indeed about the 1960 events in Bristol.

Desmond’s advice for authors preparing for media interviews:

If I had another media interview I would try to incorporate what I have learned from my three appearances.

  • I’d try to be a little more forceful in my answers.
  • I'd try to speak a little louder.
  • I'd be more direct in the points I would like to get across.
Due to the large number of interviewees and the wide depth and breadth of subjects covered, the interviewers often have little knowledge of the subject the guest wishes to talk about. Therefore it is up to the interviewee to prepare well beforehand and to make sure that, during the interview, the main points of the subject are discussed.

Want to know more...?

Bring on the Blacks is available from the SilverWood Bookshop here. You can find out more about Desmond here and follow him on Facebook here.

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