Here is a brief biography of Newland from the British Council website:
Courttia Newland was born in 1973 in West London to parents of Caribbean heritage. From a young age, Newland was fascinated with hip-hop and began his own record label. A love of music was followed by a passion for literature – at 21 Courttia began writing and in 1998 published his first novel The Scholar. Courttia was immediately hailed as a master at highlighting the complex intercity life of multicultural London. “I write about people that have been left out of mainstream fiction. When I was first published I felt that these people had no voice, so I wanted to try and capture that,” stated Newland in a recent interview. British newspaper The Observer called his first novel “an absorbing debut from a writer who clearly has something to say.” Further critically-acclaimed novels followed, including The Society Within (1999), a collection of short stories about young black Londoners, and Snakeskin (2002), a thriller about murder, politics and justice.
Courttia’s career has also encompassed performance readings, short-story and playwriting. His plays include The Far Side and Mother’s Day, which premiered at the Lyric Studio Hammersmith in 2002. Newland is the editor of the anthology IC3: The Penguin Book of New Black Writing in Britain (2000) and has featured short stories in many other anthologies including The Time Out Book of London Short Stories and England Calling. Although known for writing about urban life, Newland’s bibliography also includes adaptations of Greek tragedies for the stage and scripts for the small screen.
Next year, the English Department at GW starts a British Council UK Writer in Residence program of its own. Watch this space for details.