Building Our Own Table: Julia Bailey

Meet the founder of The Nubianaire Club

Hello friends,

I met Julia Bailey when I was promoting my book I’m Tired of Racism at a book fair in Barbados. As I walked past the stall, I saw books for all ages by Black authors, including a wide range of books for kids. I stopped to take a look, asked about Julia’s business, and knew immediately that I wanted to feature her here for my Barbadian readers especially, and to inspire others internationally who might have a similar idea. Please meet Julia Bailey of the Nubianaire Club.

Julia, tell me briefly about your background prior to founding The Nubianaire Club

I’m from London - born in London to Bajan parents who left Barbados in 1965 to create a better life for themselves. They worked hard, raised a family and retired there. I wanted to give back to my parents’ motherland and therefore had a 5-year plan to move to Barbados which was executed on 30th September 2012.

Prior to coming to Barbados, I worked for The Youth Offending Team working with children between 10 and 18, who’d received a community sentence or had been imprisoned and helping them to reintegrate back into society. Young people have always been my passion.

So having moved here and realised when I was looking for presents for children (which always included a book), I seemed to be searching far and wide to find books, toys and games representative of us and our culture. And there began the idea for The Nubianaire Club.

Give me the elevator pitch for The Nubianaire Club

The Nubianaire Club is the only dedicated Black book store in Barbados, where all our books, games and toys feature Black or Brown people.

And in more detail?

The Nubianaire Club is us taking back our right to gain wisdom and have fun doing so with representations that look like us in our novels, fiction stories, comics, colouring books, toys and games. We also have puzzles, mugs, tumblers, T-shirts and bags, again with representations of our colour and culture.

What inequity were you trying to address, and why is this important?

For decades, Black and Brown people have been underrepresented in the media and in our literature. It’s so important for us to see ourselves in books, films, programmes and jobs and our initiative seeks to address this deficiency so that not just us but our children are encouraged to elevate themselves and be or do whatever they want to be or do. This ranges from astronauts to zoo technicians - there is nothing they cannot do and this comes from the early fostering of reading (seeing themselves in books) and writing thus promoting positive learning habits.

The Nubianaire Club also creates a platform for local writers to showcase their work and this collaboration is hugely encouraged in support of the brilliant talent we have here in Barbados.

How’s it going? What has the response been?

The response has been wild - very good wild 😊 - I’m amazed at how many people have said that this is just what we need in Barbados and I feel extremely blessed at the encouragement and support that we have received since inception. To be honest, coming from the UK, I too was quite surprised that this was needed, but we are happy and honoured to fill the gap and ask for your ongoing support, ideas and suggestions so that we can continue to serve you well.

What’s next for your company The Nubianaire Club?

We should always be learning and evolving and The Nubianaire Club is no different. Now that we have opened our store in Worthing Galleria (beside Emperor’s Court), our next initiative is to roll out our monthly activity bags. Each bag will contain a fun English, maths and history project, a creative activity, and a number of other items to support our children in creative learning. Email us at [email protected] for more information. There will also be a book writing/publishing course commencing in February 2024 for those interested in seeing their own work on bookshelves, not just in Barbados, but internationally. So watch this space!

In relation to racism, what is your vision for the future?

My vision is that we as a people stop killing each other and learn to stand up for ourselves and the injustices we face because of our colour so that we can become a stronger force. Other cultures do it and so can we.

Is there anything I haven't asked you that you'd like to add?

I’d like to add 2 tips for everyone:-

1. Read Read Read. Everyday for just 15 minutes. Numerous studies have shown that this practice helps to improve your brain and memory function, boosts concentration and focus and can reduce stress. We have a variety of books featuring Black and Brown people if you’re stuck!! 😊 

2. Handwriting practice has diminished over the years in school as other parts of the curriculum has taken over. Dedicated handwriting practice for 10-20 minutes a day can improve the look of your writing.

I’m excited to see a bookstore like this in Barbados, and look forward to visiting browsing and, who knows, maybe even seeing my own book on the shelves of The Nubianaire Club. Please connect with Julia on Instagram.

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© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2023. All Rights Reserved.

Cover photo courtesy of Canva.

I am an anti-racism educator and activist, Co-Founder of Mission Equality, the author of “I’m Tired of Racism”, and co-host of The Introvert Sisters podcast.

P.S. - Holiday Publishing Schedule For SARN
  • W/c December 11 - reboot post and new post

  • W/c December 18 - reboot post and new post

  • December 27 - reading list

  • January 3 - monthly update

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