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In this article Johny Pitts offers a personal account of the influence of Caryl Phillips on the younger generation of black British authors and more generally discusses issues of literary mentoring. Starting from his first meeting with Caryl Phillips in Belgium some years ago, Pitts explains how much he learned from his famous elder, who, like him, grew up in a white working-class area in the North of England and has engaged in his writing with a Europe he feels "both of and not of." Phillips is presented both as a guide in Pitts' budding career and as a source of inspiration and confidence for the younger writer who also deals in his writing with the identity issues that affect Europeans of African descent. Pitts is the author of Afropean: An Encounter with Black Europe, which will be published by Penguin UK in spring 2018.