What we're about

A group for Black, Asian, other POC who want to enjoy and discuss books and work produced by Black, Asian and other writers and creatives of colour in a safe and inclusive space. A monthly book club, and trips to theatre, cinema, and author events.

The books will usually be selected a few months in advance, but suggestions at meetings will be taken into account for future book choices.

The discussion will be semi-structured with questions and discussion points. Members are welcome to add their own questions.

Finally, a few things to note about this group:

* Whilst it is open to all readers, due to the choice of books selected for reading, the discussions will no doubt touch on particular topics and issues, some of which may be quite personal to some (i.e. race, colourism, marginalised identities). As such, it would be appreciated if those of us who hold positions of privilege could ensure we come with an awareness of that privilege and try not to dominate the discourse when we would all be better served by listening and allowing others to express themselves.

* Whilst we can all learn from each other, please don’t expect that people from particular backgrounds (Black, Asian, Latino etc) are here to educate you on race or culture. The internet is your friend here. There are a plethora of Black, Asian, Latino, and other writers, activists, academics, and journalists of colour tweeting, writing, researching, and educating on these issues - find them (and pay them for the work they’re doing 🤷🏽‍♀️).

* I have used the POC for this group to give a general idea of the content of the books and events, please remember that we are talking about people and writers from vastly different backgrounds, experiences, countries, and cultures. As such when referring to individual writers please use more specific terms i.e. Black, Asian, Haitian, Nigerian, Japanese, Cuban.

* Finally, please leave any #notall statements and fragile egos at home.

*Please keep your RSVPs updated as those who RSVP and don’t turn up will be removed from the group.*

Upcoming events (5+)

Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot

The Heights Bar

Heart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman's coming of age on an Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest. Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalised and facing a dual diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar II disorder, Terese Marie Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. The triumphant result is Heart Berries, a memorial for Mailhot's mother, a social worker and activist who had a thing for prisoners; a story of reconciliation with her father - an abusive drunk and a brilliant artist - who was murdered under mysterious circumstances; and an elegy on how difficult it is to love someone while dragging the long shadows of shame. Memory isn't exact, but melded to imagination. In Heart Berries, Mailhot discovers her own true voice, seizes control of her story, and, in so doing, re-establishes her connection to her family, to her people, and to her place in the world. Review A sledgehammer . A mixture of vulnerability and rage, sexual yearning and artistic ambition, swagger and self-mockery . A new model for the memoir ( New York Times) I loved it ... Powerfully written, intricately executed. I felt like I read the whole thing in one breath (Kate Tempest) An astounding memoir in essays. Here is a wound. Here is need, naked and unapologetic. Here is a mountain woman, towering in words great and small ... What Mailhot has accomplished in this exquisite book is brilliance both raw and refined (Roxane Gay)

The Colour of Madness: anthology on BAME mental health

For those past and present who were not able to tell their stories. For those who told their stories but were not heard. For those who are steeling themselves, waiting for their moment to speak. The Colour of Madness is a seminal anthology, comprised of poetry, fiction, essays, memoirs and art submitted by Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) writers, academics, mental health workers, artists and those who are still navigating life with mental health problems. ​ Prefaced by a foreword by scholar, psychologist and therapist Guilaine Kinouani, contributors' writings and artwork have been beautifully curated into seven colour-themed sections complete with colour plates. This was a crowdfunded project, supported by those who knew that non-white experiences are often silenced in the mental health space or treated differently. We hoped to ignite dialogue and spotlight powerful voices that deserve to be heard - and we have certainly accomplished it. The Colour of Madness was launched in October and has featured in numerous events across Britain. ​

Christmas meal at Cottons Camden

Cotton's Camden

***Please note: this event is only open to members who have attended a book club discussion*** Following the book club discussion I thought it would be nice to go for some Christmassy food. You don't have to order from the Christmas menu, but if you want to we need to give them selections about a week before. To make it easy and fair, everyone will pay for what they have. Please only RSVP if you are definitely coming as numbers are limited and I need to make a booking. The menu is here: https://7930001c-5762-47af-9553-ad44e57d0ba7.filesusr.com/ugd/c51859_145079871abe4160ba92a44b1374d8d6.pdf

Please Look After Mother by Kyung-Sook Shin

The Heights Bar

Combining a unique setting with universal themes, PLEASE LOOK AFTER MOTHER is a beautifully rendered novel about sacrifice, guilt, and the ties of family love. PLEASE LOOK AFTER MOTHER is the story of So-nyo, a wife and mother, who has lived a life of sacrifice and compromise. In the past she suffered a stroke, leaving her vulnerable and often confused. Now, travelling from the Korean countryside to the Seoul of her grown-up children, So-nyo is separated from her husband when the doors close on a packed train. As her children and husband search the streets, they recall So-nyo's life, and all they have left unsaid. Through their piercing voices, we begin to discover the desires, heartaches, and secrets she harboured within. And as the mystery of her disappearance unravels, we uncover a larger mystery, that of all mothers and children: how affection, exasperation, hope and guilt add up to love. Compassionate, redemptive and beautifully written, PLEASE LOOK AFTER MOTHER will reconnect you to the story of your own family, and to the forgotten sacrifices that lie at its heart.

Past events (20)

It's Not About the Burqa: Essays by Muslim Women

Southbank Centre

Photos (18)

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