- The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon
Both devastating and funny, The Lonely Londoners is an unforgettable account of immigrant experience - and one of the great twentieth-century London novels. At Waterloo Station, hopeful new arrivals from the West Indies step off the boat train, ready to start afresh in 1950s London. There, homesick Moses Aloetta, who has already lived in the city for years, meets Henry 'Sir Galahad' Oliver and shows him the ropes. In this strange, cold and foggy city where the natives can be less than friendly at the sight of a black face, has Galahad met his Waterloo? But the irrepressible newcomer cannot be cast down. He and all the other lonely new Londoners - from shiftless Cap to Tolroy, whose family has descended on him from Jamaica - must try to create a new life for themselves. As pessimistic 'old veteran' Moses watches their attempts, they gradually learn to survive and come to love the heady excitements of London. You can read an introduction to the book and listen to a recording of Selvon reading a passage from the book here: https://www.bl.uk/windrush/articles/the-lonely-londoners-a-new-way-of-reading-and-writing-the-city
- Salaam @ The Vault Festival
Salaam Presented by Sara Aniqah Malik “they say angels come to earth at this time hovering above our houses and I think we glow for them like candles in the dark” London. 2017. The first night of Ramadan. Mother and daughter prepare to break the fast. Quiet, alone, and at peace, they prepare for a night of contemplation. A crash. Glass shatters. Everything is changed. ‘SALAAM’ is a lyrical, experimental investigation into what it means to be Muslim in London today. Linking Islamist terror attacks and the resulting spike of Islamophobia, ‘SALAAM’ uses the lens of two Muslim women to explore mental health issues and the nature of gendered racial abuse. It seeks to speak the language of London today and asks us how to make a better London of tomorrow. Tickets are £15, you will need to buy your own here: https://vaultfestival.com/whats-on/salaam/ I will arrange a Meetup point with those who RSVP.
- Inside Voices @ The Vault Festival
INSIDE VOICES PRESENTED BY LAZY NATIVE Nisa is young and idealistic to a fault. Lily is sharp and refuses to play by society’s rules. Fatimah is slowing down and starting to regret. Caged in by everyday life, the three women look forward to nightfall, when they can lie down and dream impossible futures together. Described as ‘witty, enchanting and poignant’ (Global Voices Theatre), Inside Voices blends dark comedy and magical realism to tackle urgent social issues about race, religion and cross-cultural connections. Presented by an all-female, all-Asian team, this production is a comedic and contemplative commentary on free will, feminism and faith. It shines a spotlight on Southeast Asian Muslim women, and interrogates larger global conversations about Islamophobia and the #MeToo movement. Inside Voices has been read at Soho Theatre and later at Arcola Theatre, as part of the Global Female Voices platform by Global Voices Theatre. It was selected as the top play audiences most wanted to see developed in full. #InsideVoicesLDN at VAULT Festival marks the show’s full-scale theatrical debut. https://vaultfestival.com/whats-on/inside-voices/?spektrix_bounce=true Tickets are £13.50 including commission, please buy your own using the link. Please only RSVP if you have bought a ticket. I will email details of the Meetup location closer to the event. We will meet for drinks/food before the event. There is also a second event at 15.00, see separate event listing for this.
- I Stopped When @ The Vault Festival
I STOPPED… .WHEN. PRESENTED BY ACQUAH&CO Three poets battle for first place in London’s biggest slam poetry competition; kind-hearted Adele who learns to use her words as a shield; Wren, a shy foreign student from Singapore who gets more than he bargained for when he downloads Grinder; and Naya, a Black activist who finds herself unfavourably in the public eye when she is ‘discovered’ to be dating a white man. As the poets’ private lives are exposed and their personas stripped away, they must answer: How can one balance activism with falling in love? What do our dating preferences say about us? Can we separate art from the artist? The personal from the political? Loving you from hating me? A 'verbatim-as-poetry' show about public pressures, interracial dating, and what the art we make says about us. https://vaultfestival.com/whats-on/i-stopped-when/?spektrix_bounce=true Tickets are £16.50 including commission, please buy your own using the link. Please only RSVP if you have bought a ticket. I will email details of the Meetup location closer to the event. We will go for drinks/food afterwards to discuss. There is also a second event at 18.20, see separate event listing for this.
- ‘May We Borrow Your Country’ - with The Whole Kahani
This is an author event taking place on the same evening as the first Book Club Meeting. We will arrange a meet-up location beforehand so we can attend together. Details TBC. Please purchase your own tickets using this link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/may-we-borrow-your-country-with-the-whole-kahani-at-gower-street-tickets-52632703834?ref=eios&aff=eios Displacement. Disquiet. Desire. The Whole Kahani examine the displaced and the dispossessed in their second anthology May We Borrow Your Country. The stories and poems offer a wry compassionate look at individuals who cross borders, adapt to new cultures or places, and search for an identity. The protagonists in these stories often stand at a crossroads, their choices and challenges reflecting their divided selves. Preti Taneja, who has written the foreword for the book, will introduce The Whole Kahani. Contributors will read brief excerpts from the book and publisher Lynn Michell of Linen Press will describe what attracted her to the anthology. This will be followed by a short panel discussion on the representation of minority voices in literature, after which we will be open to Q&A from the audience, and book signing. There will be wine and samosas 👌🏽
- Ayiti by Roxane Gay
From New York Times-bestselling powerhouse Roxane Gay, Ayiti is a powerful collection exploring the Haitian diaspora experience. In Ayiti, a married couple seeking boat passage to America prepares to leave their homeland. A young woman procures a voodoo love potion to ensnare a childhood classmate. A mother takes a foreign soldier into her home as a boarder, and into her bed. And a woman conceives a daughter on the bank of a river while fleeing a horrific massacre, a daughter who later moves to America for a new life but is perpetually haunted by the mysterious scent of blood. Originally published by a small press, this new edition will make Gay's debut widely available for the first time, including several new stories. Currently available on Kindle for £3.99 You can still come along even if you don’t get through the whole collection :)