A level texts

We want to ensure that students are being exposed to literature from a variety of British authors from different backgrounds, and are reading about contemporary issues that they can engage with and relate to.

Here you'll find information about the texts on our Pearson Edexcel A level English Literature text list that align with our commitment to maximising diversity in curriculum.

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The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon (1956)

Set in 1950s London, this is the story of the arrival of hopeful immigrants, including Moses Aloetta, and their journey in learning how to survive and come to love what London has to offer.

The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon (1956)
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Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987)
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Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987)

A story which follows the experiences of Sethe, abandoned by her sons and living with her youngest daughter in Cincinnati, in the aftermath of the American Civil War. The themes of this novel touch upon slavery and violence.


The Color Purple by Alice Walker (1982)

A powerful novel following a young black girl born into poverty and segregation in the deep American South. The themes address several issues faced by African-American women in the 1930s, including violence and separation.

The Colour Purple by Alice Walker (1982)

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (2007)

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (2007)

This story follows fifteen-year-old Mariam’s arranged marriage to Rasheed and later her unlikely friendship with teenager, Laila. The themes of this novel explore a mother and daughter relationship in war-torn Afghanistan.


Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (2018)

The novel centres on the Pasha family, three British Pakistani siblings trying to make their way in the world after the death of their mother, in the absence of their jihadi father. It explores themes of cultural identity and alienation, a thoughtful and nuanced reflection on Britishness, and conflicting loyalties.

The Colour Purple by Alice Walker (1982)

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (2007)

Sweat by Lynn Nottage (2015)

This play portrays the anger and despair of women workers amidst the demise of a steelworks in the early 2000s, exploring the devastating impact of loss of work and of de-industrialisation on modern America.


Les Blancs by Lorraine Hansberry (2009)

Tshembe Matoseh returns to Africa from his new home in Europe to attend the funeral of his father, a village leader. Confronting the different perspectives of his countrymen, his brother (now a Catholic priest), the Europeans who staff the missionary clinic, and an American journalist, Tshembe finds himself drawn into the anti-colonial struggle igniting around him.

The Colour Purple by Alice Walker (1982)

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (2007)

The Cutting Season by Attica Locke (2013)

A tense thriller, this novel sets a murder mystery against a backdrop of modern American tensions, exploring the central character’s determination to achieve justice for a murdered migrant labourer while also struggling to deal with her own family history and make a life for herself and her daughter.


We have also produced a selection of coursework guides for teachers and students to use when considering their coursework text choices, covering Black British Literature, LGBTQ+ and British Asian literature.

View and download the guides