Past Meetup

I'm Black So You Don't Have To Be... (ft. Pauline Black & Hannah Lowe)

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Speaky Spokey, the literary cabaret, presents an evening of readings, music and discussion, with a special highlight from Wasafiri Magazine. Pauline Black, Hannah Lowe, Colin Grant and Burt Caesar investigate whether it’s possible or desirable to 'think black'.

In her memoir, Black by Design, the two-tone singer, Pauline Vickers signalled her blackness (to the disapproval of the white family who brought her up) when she changed her surname to Black. Pauline Black also performs some of her great Ska songs on the night. Long Time No See is Hannah Lowe’s poignant memoir (recently serialised on BBC radio 4) of her relationship with her father, a half-Chinese, half-black Jamaican immigrant who made his precarious living as a card sharp in East London. In Negro with a Hat, Colin Grant explores Marcus Garvey’s notion of putting race first, and the actor and director, Burt Caesar, performs extracts from Derek Walcott's The Schooner Flight.

In a key feature of the evening, Wasafiri, the Magazine of International Contemporary Writing, announces the winners of the Wasafiri New Writing Prize. Launched in 2009, the annual award has blossomed, with the winners in the three categories of Poetry, Fiction and Life Writing. This year's judges are Susheila Nasta (Wasafiri Editor and Chair of judges), journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, writer Toby Litt and poet Roger Robinson. Roger will read and will also announce the 2015 winners.