Who doesn’t love a good festival? And we don’t mean the mud-and-wellies type. This is more about the love of reading and telling stories than sweaty tents and tiaras. Moreover, this is a festival celebrating the words of the black community. So, bookworms, this one’s for you. Grab your tote bags and bookmarks and mark the Black Book Festival in your calendars. Held at Goldsmiths University in south London, this one-day event in March is a must for anyone interested in amplifying stories from the African-Caribbean community, and is organised by publishing company Simon Education.
Who’s it for?
Interested in hearing about more books written about the black experience? Of course you are. As the books industry here in the UK aims to diversify output, more authentic stories from lesser-heard communities are being sought out. After all, who doesn’t want to discover the next Lemn Sissay or Maya Angelou? Look at the bookstore shelves and you’ll notice they’re becoming a bit more colourful these days. From younger black women talking about the challenges of modern-day life in Slay in Your Lane by Elizabeth Uviebinené and Yomi Adegoke (Fourth Estate) to literary and commercial blockbusters including Ordinary People by Diana Evans (Chatto & Windus) and Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo (Hamish Hamilton).
This is where the Black Book Festival comes in. A celebration of black stories, there will be a buzzing book market of 65 bookstalls, a packed programme of interviews with emerging and published authors, creative workshops for children, presentations by leading literary experts and book launches, including one for the festival’s organiser David Simon, who’ll be revealing his latest work How to Unlock Your Genius Using Black History (Simon Education Books).
Who’s going to be there?
There’s already exciting names confirmed, including Kehinde Andrews, the prominent British academic and professor of Black Studies at Birmingham City University, as well as all-round super storyteller and literary consultant Sandra Agard. Top of our must-see list is Derek Owusu, the writer, poet and podcaster. He’s well known as one of the voices on Mostly Lit, the hit literary podcast, and for his book called SAFE: On Black British Men Reclaiming Space, an anthology exploring the experiences of black men in Britain (Trapeze). His first solo work came out late last year titled That Reminds Me, a novel-in-verse which was published by Stormzy’s publishing house #Merky Books.
Not only that, there will be a raft of black publishing houses on show, so make sure you check out their latest releases and backlist of books, where there are guaranteed to be brilliant gems among their stacks!
The Black Book Festival takes place 14 March 11-7pm at Goldsmiths University, London. To book your ticket click here.