Penguin's Black Britain: Writing Back.

A Black Boy at Eton is non-fiction book by Dillibe Onyeama. Originally written in 1972, Onyeama’s shocking account of his racist treatment at Eton – where he became the first Black student to complete his education – is a seminal piece of life-writing and a key inclusion in Penguin’s Black Britain: Writing Back series.

I was asked to design the cover art for the 2022 version of the book.


Book cover design


A type of discrimination.

Upon reading the book, I noted how much exclusion and alienation Dillibe experienced during his time at Eton. I imagined how someone in his position, may have felt both overwhelmed and dwarfed by this hostile, discriminatory environment. My concept was to translate this feeling into typography, using heavy, scaled-up type to create an oppressive and domineering structure. This was to be juxtaposed against a figure, to push the idea of scale.

For this I managed to source a picture of Dillibe himself, from an 1965 Eton house photo. In the artwork Dillibe is framed to be almost obscured by the title. As though the enormity of the experience threatened to erase his very presence.

Fortunately for us, he endured, and his body of incredible work since, enables us to challenge those same structures today.


A Black Boy at Eton, cover by Greg Bunbury

A Black Boy at Eton, cover by Greg Bunbury

Available to purchase now, via Penguin’s Black Britain: Writing Back series.

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