We launch Black History Month with Inner Visions at Jubilee Library, 10 October 2013

Linos Wengara. Photo by Bip Mistry
Linos Wengara. Photo by Bip Mistry

October kicks off our fantastic programme of activity this autumn. We are delighted to bring you a special night of live music and readings from authors who have been inspired by the rich musical culture of Africa, Caribbean and beyond.

Inner Visions takes place on Thursday 10 October from 5pm to 7pm at Jubilee Library in Brighton. The night brings together master Mbira player Linos Wengara Magaya and esteemed  historian and author Colin Grant, along with special guest London-based poet Hannah Lowe,  whose first collection Chick was recently shortlisted for the Forward Best First Collection Prize. Continue reading →

Watch renowned Jacob Ross reading from his long-awaited first novel, Pynter Bender (4th Estate/Harper Collins). He was the only Caribbean nominee on the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize short list (Canada and Caribbean Best Book).

Jacob will be joining us for a talk and reading at Brighton’s legendary venue The Old Market on Friday 26 July and at Jubilee Library for a writers workshop on Saturday 27 July. Don’t miss this exclusive chance to hear and learn from one of our most legendary Caribbean authors. Get bargain tickets for Jacob Ross’s talk at The Old Market here!

Pynter Bender summary:

Set in and around the cane fields of Grenada in the Carribean ‘Pynter Bender’ is about the conflict between the world of men and women, men who walk away from their families and from the cane fields and their women who forbear. It brilliantly describes the birth of a modern West Indian island and the shaping of its people as they struggle to shuck off the systems that have essentially kept them in slavery for centuries.

Read a review here: www.jacobrossonline.com/The_Books/Pynter­_Bender/Pynter_Reviews/pynter_reviews.ht­ml

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-QxYPLeJ_k&w=420&h=315]

Jacob Ross headlines special finale event at The Old Market, Brighton on 26 July 2013

Jacob_headshot_400_266We are delighted to announce that Grenadian-born Jacob Ross will be our special author at our finale event on Friday 26 July 2013 at the Old Market. The event marks the end of our 2013/14 programme and we plan to go out in a bang, with readings, discussions, music and Caribbean food on the night, as well as special rum cocktails for sale at the bar. Continue reading →

Inner Visions: writers & the music that inspires them, Crawley Wordfest, 20 March 2013

Inner Visions: writers & the music that inspires them, Crawley Wordfest, 20 March 2013

 print_innervisionsposterEvery writer has their own special soundtrack that inspires them, whether it’s the music that they listened to in their teens or the music that gets them in that calm and chilled out place as an adult. Well, we’ve got a night that will get you inspired to write, read and rock n roll all at the same time.

We are working with Crawley Black History Foundation to produce a special event called Inner Visions: writers & the music that inspires them, which is part of the Crawley Wordfest, a two-week long festival that takes place in Crawley from 16 to 28 March 2013.

The night runs on 20 March 7.30 to 9pm and is free entry, with world cuisine food and drink (wine, beer, non-alcoholic beverage) for sale.

Update: Authentic Caribbean food from Benjies Caribbean Kitchen will be on sale on the night. Jerk chicken and vegetable curry plates will be on sale for £6 each, accompanied by rice, salad and more.

I’m really thrilled that we are returning to the fab Crawley Library to do another unique event that makes writing and literature, in all its different shapes and sizes, fun and accessible to a wide range of audiences, showcasing local Black and ethnic minority talent.

For this event, we’ve got historian and author Colin Grant reading from &I, The Natural Mystics, a group biography of the original Wailers and talking about the music that informed his book: ska, reggae and the mento that fuelled the music of Jamaica.

We’ve also also got the totally compelling Rounke Coker, a Nigerian writer and storyteller, who will be writing a new short story based on the influence of Western music in Nigeria in decades past, with Bob Marley’s music playing a prominent role. Expect to laugh your socks off!

Gregory Dax will be performing, playing popular Black music taking you through the decades. Set to be an inspiring and intimate night.

Presented by Crawley Black History Foundation & Writing Our Legacy  as part of Crawley Wordfest

Inner Visions, Wednesday 20 March, 7.30-9pm. With Colin Grant, Rounke Coker and Gregory Dax. Catering from Benjies Caribbean Kitchen, with plates at £6. Drinks for sale. To book your free place, go to http://crawleyinnervisions.eventbrite.co.uk

Listen again: a recording of our Asian Voices night in Crawley


Photo courtesy of http://black-history.org.uk/pavilionindian.asp

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFzpvIgfsVU&w=420&h=315]

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[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/64343234″ iframe=”true” /]

Enjoy footage and audio recordings from our recent Asian Voices. It was an evening of writing inspired by the historic Brighton Pavilion and India, held at Crawley Library this past Saturday.

Despite the rain, the modern library held a sizeable local audience, with former soldiers and people of different Asian backgrounds in attendance. We were really pleased to see so many people arriving early, and quickly fill in while we had teas, coffees and biscuits and everyone go to know one another before the night had begun.

Bert Williams MBE from the Sussex Chattri group gave a lively talk about the Indian soldiers stay in Brighton during World War I, when Hindu, Muslim and Sikh Indian soldiers were treated at the Brighton Pavilion, a make-shift hospital, and their now famous letters home. This was followed by a dramatic reading from actors Rez Kabir and Richard Sumitro and Uschi Gatward, who brought to life a play based on the Indian soldiers letters, called Through the Flames by emerging Asian LGBT playwright Sonya Roy. Lastly, writer and creative writing tutor Umi Sinha read from her new historical novel in progress about Indian soldiers and a new think piece that reflected on the relationship of her Indian heritage and with this place England she calls ‘home’.

The night was presented in partnership with the Crawley Black History Month group, with support from the brilliant Crawley library service.

Here’s a review written by Sonya Roy of the event:

On Saturday evening on the 20th October at Crawley Library a wonderful event took place. INSPIRE was an evening of history and writing inspired by the Brighton Pavilion and its links with India. In the early days of the first World War, many Hindu, Sikh and Muslim soldiers were bought to Brighton which had been turned into a hospital town. For nearly two years thousands of Indian soldiers were resident in what was at that time a small seaside town. And in that time there was a shortage of English men as most had joined up so there were a lot of lonely English women who were drawn to the “dusky warriors” from the East.

INSPIRE took fact and fiction and created a fusion of fact and fiction in the guise of a talk from the Chattri group and two short readings, one from a play called Through the Flames and a novel entitled Belonging. Bert Williams gave an informative talk about the Indian soldiers and their contribution to Sussex during WWI and two writers, Sonya Roy and Umi Sinha put forward their interpretation through fictional accounts of relationships forged in war.

Two London actors Rez Kabir and Richard Sumitro did an amazing reading of two of the characters from Through the Flames helping to create a haunting atmosphere that spoke of a world at war and a love that dared not be named in a racially intolerant Empire. And Umi Sinha’s book Belonging though not yet finished, will hopefully be on the shelves of Sussex Libraries when finally published.

The evening was very well attended with some and Uschi Gatward did a brilliant job of compering the evening’s educational entertainment that was so popular it overran as there so many questions and comments from the audience.

Crawley Black History Group were the hosts for the night and Amy Riley from Writing Our Legacy was the linchpin which enabled this event to happen in the first place. I really hope that this will be repeated next year with more Asian literary talent and even more history on offer.

Chilean author Luis Muñoz reading at Latin Voices Live (Day of Dead) on 17 November

We are honoured to have Luis Muñoz, a former Chilean activist who survived arrest torture during Pinochet’s regime and authored this harrowing account of his life in his autobiography ‘Being Luis; A Chilean Life’ (Impress Books).

Luis will read from his book on Saturday 17 November, from 3-4pm in Brighton Museum, during Latin Voices Live! Afterwards he will have a question and answer session. Luis will be signing copies of the book, which will be on sale.

Tickets for the reading are £5/3 and include a complimentary glass of wine – they can be purchased in advance from http://writingourlegacy2012.eventbrite.co.uk

Being Luis; A Chilean Life is a powerful account of love, life, death and survival, recounting Chilean history from the 1960s to the present. It charts Luis Muñoz magical but at times difficult childhood, his undercover activity as a left-wing activist, his arrest and torture by Pinochet’s military regime, his exile to England and how he overcame his experiences to move forward with his life.

Luis now lives in East Sussex and is a well known commentator on Chilean affairs. He has close links with the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture and the Helen Bamber Foundation.
The reading will be followed by a Question and Answer session

‘Being Luis; A Chilean Life’ ISBN 0954758617 paperback £11.99 Impress Books

For further information see: http://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Being_Luis.html?id=mnn-GPhkW-MC&redir_esc=y

Latin Voices Live (Day of Dead) takes place on Saturday 17 November, 10am-5pm, at Brighton Museum (all day) and Brighton Dome (1-5pm). Music, dance, film, literature, arts and crafts, and family friendly workshops throughout the day. Entry is free all day, workshops by donation. Mexican food, Latin cocktails and other drinks on sale. 

Kent poet Patience Agbabi performing at Hastings Museum

The incredible Patience Agbabi reads from her remake of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, soon to be published and tentatively called Canterbury Remix as well as from Bloodshot Monochrome (Canongate).  You can grab a copy from Amazon or other fine booksellers.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDcpHMj0BdQ]

Bloodshot Monochrome is a glorious poetic take on all things black, white and read. Reinventing the sonnet, Patience Agbabi shines her euphoric, musical lines on everything from growing up to growing old, from Northern Soul to contract killers, from the retro to the brand new. Whether resurrecting the dead in ‘Problem Pages’, playing out noir dramas in ‘Vicious Circle’, or capturing moments of her own life in perfect snapshot, Agbabi’s verse is sublimely lyrical and spiked with gleeful humour.

Rounke Coker reads at Writing Our Legacy/Afrikaba event, Hastings Museum

This Friday, Nigerian storyteller Rounke Coker delighted us with this story, set in Lagos, about a main character’s brother who has a strange fascination with insects, animals and particularly a pet crocodile. The story is rich in detail, aliveness and a visceral sense of language – as well as being plain damn funny.

The evening’s reading was set in the captivating Hastings Museum – a place highly recommended for a visit. The event, partnered with local African festival of arts and culture, Afrikaba, also featured Kent poet superstar Patience Agbabi, who is on the brink of publication for new work, tentatively titled Canterbury Remix….watch this space. In the meantime, sit back and enjoy this incredible story from Rounke, who we are sure to hear again at future readings in Sussex (14 October, Nightingale Theatre)….and read in print very soon.

Rounke Coker  – Friday 5 October, Hastings Museum – Part 1
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPdNLBwaaMI]

Rounke Coker – Friday 5 October, Hastings Museum – Part 2
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1gjd0h9fAs]

INSPIRE: New Voices – a night of new writing at Nightingale Theatre – Sunday 14 October

INSPIRE: New Voices – a night of new writing at Nightingale Theatre – Sunday 14 October

Akila doing a laptop reading in the car park at Sticky Mikes Frog Bar, Brighton

On Sunday 14 October, 7 Sussex authors will take centre stage at the Nightingale Theatre in Brighton with a new work evening called New Voices.

The night presents an exciting range of writing that’s on the cusp of publication and on the cutting-edge of new writing.

Confirmed writers include

  • Neela Masani
  • Akila
  • Stephanie Lam
  • Rounke Coker
  • Jenny Aburra
  • Olusha–Femi  Hughes
  • Irene Mensah

Catch these up-and-coming authors before they’re big!

7-9pm (doors open 6.30pm), Nightingale Theatre, 29-30 Surrey Street  City Centre BN1 3PA. Tickets £5 advance from http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/278402

INSPIRE: Asian Voices – Saturday 20 October – Umi Sinha, Sonya Roy, Chattri Group – Crawley Library

Photo courtesy of http://black-history.org.uk/pavilionindian.asp

INSPIRE: Asian Voices is an evening of writing inspired by the historic Brighton Pavilion and India.

The night explores connections made during World War I, when Hindu, Muslim and Sikh Indian soldiers were treated at the Brighton Pavilion, a make-shift hospital, as well as the wider connections between India and England.

There will be  a short dramatic reading of a play from emerging Asian LGBT playwright Sonya Roy called “Through the Flames” by two Asian actors, who will bring the play to life.

Photo courtesy of http://black-history.org.uk/pavilionindian.asp

The night will also feature a talk about the Indian soldiers stay in Brighton and their now famous letters home from the Sussex Chattri group.

Lastly, writer and creative writing tutor Umi Sinha will read from her new historical novel in progress about Indian soldiers – and reflect on the relationship of her Indian heritage and the relationship with this place England we call home.

Presented in partnership with the Crawley Black History Month group.

INSPIRE: Asian Voices takes place on Saturday 20 October, 7.30-9pm (doors 7pm). Crawley Library, Southgate Avenue  Crawley, West Sussex RH10 6HG.  Tickets £5 advance from http://writingourlegacy2012.eventbrite.co.uk

Continue reading →