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Tottenham Literature Festival kicks off next week

Join your fellow bibliophiles for a week of literary events at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre.

Tottenham Literature Festival

This year’s Tottenham Literature Festival opens on 13th November and sees leading Black writers, journalists and TV personalities host a range of talks, events and workshops under the theme of the Black experience through the lens of the human body. Events will look at the physical world and how reactions to it affect the body and whether a holistic approach to life can help us thrive physically, mentally and spiritually and live as whole selves. The festival includes film screenings, a book stall, food and a schools day with an extensive free programme as well as tickets from £5 including a day pass.   

The festival – now in its fifth year – continues to blend a packed programme of readings, performance, talks and workshops covering poetry, prose and fiction building on its reputation as one of the UK’s leading literature festivals for work by Black authors, poets and artists. Highlights for this year include: 

  • Love in the Black Imagination with Bolu Babalola’ – a look at the part fantasy and imagination play in identity and Black love with the Sunday Times best-selling author. Bolu has also appeared on Forbes 30 under 30 list for Media and Marketing in Europe 2021 and her debut novel Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold was Book Club pick from Academy Award winning actress Reese Witherspoon 
Bolu Babalola – Credit: Caleb Azumah-Nelson
  • Showing Up for Love with Liv Little’ – a discussion about love, friendship and the realities of modern life from the founder of gal-dem ahead of the release of her debut novel Rosewater 
  • Gary Younge & More’ – a host of Black authors discuss their perspectives on navigating the world today headline by award winning author, journalist and former Guardian columnist Gary Younge  
Gary Younge – Credit: Jonas Mortensen
  • Dr Ronx & More’ – one for the family with a lineup of Black authors and illustrators sharing the magic of their stories. The event is headlined by award-winning BBC and Channel 4 TV presenter and A&E doctor Dr Ronx. Free copies of their book AMAZING BODIES will be available for kids during the festival week at BGAC as well as participating libraries. 

As well as the talks and events, there will be screenings of feature length and short films by Black British directors that tell the wide and varying experiences of Black people in Britain including Lovers Rock from Academy Award winning producer and director Steve McQueen. At a book stall from partner Roundtable Books, featuring the best in Black writing, audiences can partake in delicious vegan food from Sister Woman Vegan and Moko, a plant based social enterprise exploring wellness through food. There will also be a schools day on Monday 13th November for local schools.  

Azieb Pool, Artistic Director and CEO of the Bernie Grant Arts Centre and founder of TLF said, “We’re thrilled to be back for our fifth year of the Tottenham Literature Festival. It’s been amazing to see how the festival has grown over the past few years. We can’t wait to host some of the most exciting, up and coming Black writers like Bolu, Liv and Dr Ronx, as well as the legendary Gary Younge who’s writing has been at the forefront of British journalism for 30 years.  We can’t wait for the festival to open – see you there!” 

Bernie Grant Arts Centre (BGAC) is a unique multi-art form venue in Tottenham, North London, inspired by the vision of the late Bernie Grant MP. The iconic building is a landmark on Tottenham High Street. As London’s only Black-led combined arts venue that prioritises Black work: the BGAC exist to champion, develop and present new and cutting edge multi-disciplinary work by Black artists for a world where Black led work is given space, status and a chance to thrive – a world in which Black artists, creatives and performers no longer have to fight to have their stories made. 

Led by Artistic Director/CEO Hannah-Azieb Pool, the BGAC invest in the creativity of Black artists, aiming to amplify their voices, elevate their profiles and showcase their work; develop new audiences for this work, by attracting the broadest possible range of people to it; and provide valuable career opportunities within the arts for those from underrepresented backgrounds – addressing the inequity of access that is endemic in our borough, and beyond. 

Evening Talks

Showing up For Love with Liv Little

16 Nov, 7 – 8.30pm | BGAC Theatre | From £5 (PWYC)  

Hear from the author, and founder of gal-dem, Liv Little, as she discusses love, friendship and the realities of modern life in her debut novel Rosewater. The story follows Elsie a Black queer poet, navigating love and loss while working long hours for minimum wage in South London. The event will include a performed extract from the novel. 

Love in the Black Imagination

17 Nov, 7 – 8.15pm | BGAC Theatre | From £5 (PWYC)  

What part does fantasy and imagination play in the formation of our identities? 

How do images and experiences of Black love and relationships shape our desires, as well as our ability to express and and receive love? Join as we discuss the realities of Black love through the relationships with our cultural imagination. 

Festival Day Programme 

Family Programme: Dr Ronx & More

18 Nov, 10.00 – 14.00pm | BGAC Theatre | Day Pass from £8 (PWYC)  

With an amazing line-up of Black authors and illustrators sharing the magic of stories. From readings and author talks to workshops and performances TLF23 brings diverse children’s stories in fun and engaging ways. Headlined by award-winning trans non-binary emergency doctor and CBBC’s Operation Ouch presenter and activist Dr Ronx. More to be announced soon. 

Main Programme: Gary Younge & More

18 Nov, 13.30 – 19.00pm | BGAC Theatre | Day Pass from £8 (PWYC)   

We’ll share perspectives on how we navigate the world today with a host of incredible Black authors in events ranging from talks, performances, workshops, and our books market – there’s lots to choose from. Talks in the BGAC Theatre will be BSL interpreted. 

Where: Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Town Hall Approach Road, Tottenham Green, London, N15 4RX  

When: 13 – 19 November  

Tickets start at £5 as part of pay what you can scheme | berniegrantcentre.co.uk

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