Bessie Smith: Jackie Kay in conversation with Bernardine Evaristo

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The British Library and Faber Social present a celebration of Bessie Smith, pioneering blues singer and one of the biggest stars of the 1920s and 30s.

As a young black girl growing up in Glasgow, writer and poet Jackie Kay found in Bessie someone with whom she could identify and who she could idolise. Kay talks to award winning novelist Bernardine Evaristo about her new book on Bessie's life, which mixes enthralling biography with fiction, poetry and prose.

Plus a selection of Bessie Smith’s songs performed by special guest singer Nona Hendryx, most famously of the group Labelle.

Bessie’s life was as tempestuous as it was extraordinary. Born in Tennessee in 1894 and orphaned by the age of nine, Smith sang on street corners before becoming a big name in travelling shows alongside the likes of Ma Rainey. In 1923 she made her first recording for a new start-up called Columbia Records. It sold 780,000 copies.

Smith’s life was notoriously difficult: she drank pints of ‘bathtub gin’, got into violent fist fights, spent huge sums of money and had passionate love affairs with men and women. She once single-handedly fought off a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.

Her gorgeous and powerful voice, unapologetic songs and bold personality have been an inspiration to many ever since.

Purchase your copy of Jackie Kay's Bessie Smith here

Bessie Smith: Jackie Kay in conversation with Bernardine Evaristo

This event will be available to watch again soon.

The British Library and Faber Social present a celebration of Bessie Smith, pioneering blues singer and one of the biggest stars of the 1920s and 30s.

As a young black girl growing up in Glasgow, writer and poet Jackie Kay found in Bessie someone with whom she could identify and who she could idolise. Kay talks to award winning novelist Bernardine Evaristo about her new book on Bessie's life, which mixes enthralling biography with fiction, poetry and prose.

Plus a selection of Bessie Smith’s songs performed by special guest singer Nona Hendryx, most famously of the group Labelle.

Bessie’s life was as tempestuous as it was extraordinary. Born in Tennessee in 1894 and orphaned by the age of nine, Smith sang on street corners before becoming a big name in travelling shows alongside the likes of Ma Rainey. In 1923 she made her first recording for a new start-up called Columbia Records. It sold 780,000 copies.

Smith’s life was notoriously difficult: she drank pints of ‘bathtub gin’, got into violent fist fights, spent huge sums of money and had passionate love affairs with men and women. She once single-handedly fought off a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.

Her gorgeous and powerful voice, unapologetic songs and bold personality have been an inspiration to many ever since.

<b>Purchase your copy of Jackie Kay's <i>Bessie Smith</i> <a href="https://pagesofhackney.co.uk/webshop/product/bessie-smith-jackie-kay/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a></b>

Remembering the Holocaust: Anne Frank's step-sister Eva Schloss

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This event took place on: 25 January 2021.

To mark Holocaust Memorial Day, 91-year old Eva Schloss MBE tells her remarkable story. A childhood neighbour of Anne Frank in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, she was incarcerated in and then liberated from Auschwitz.

Before the Second World War, Eva and her family were neighbours of the Franks in Amsterdam. The two families went separately into hiding from the Nazis. Both were betrayed and deported to Auschwitz. Eva, her mother and Anne’s father were the only survivors. When Eva settled in London after the War, Eva’s mother and Anne’s father married. Eva has published three books and speaks about her experiences to thousands of people around the world.

In 1991, Eva co-founded the Anne Frank Trust UK, an anti-prejudice education charity, which is now in its 30th year. Using Anne Frank’s life and diary as a starting point, the trust aims to empower young people with the knowledge, skills and confidence to challenge all forms of prejudice and discrimination.

Tim Robertson has been Chief Executive of the Anne Frank Trust UK since 2018. His previous roles include Director of the Royal Society of Literature, Chief Executive of the Koestler Trust for arts in prisons, and children’s social worker in the London Borough of Camden.

In association with the Anne Frank Trust.

Order your copy of Eva's book <i><b>After Auschwitz: A story of heartbreak and survival by the stepsister of Anne Frank</i></b> <a href="https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Eva-Schloss/After-Auschwitz--A-story-of-heartbreak-and-survival-by-th/15126230" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>

James Baldwin's America and its Urgent Lessons for Today

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With Eddie S Glaude Jr. A searing indictment of racial injustice in America, inspired by the life and work of James Baldwin.

Eddie S. Glaude Jr of Princeton University follows the increasingly politicised journey of 'the poet of the revolution' James Baldwin, in the years from The Fire Next Time in 1963 to No Name in the Street in 1972. This was the time of the Civil Rights Movement, when attempts to force a confrontation with the truth of America's racism was answered with the murders of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.

In his new book Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and its Urgent Lessons for Today, Glaude suggests we can find hope and guidance for our own times, a new era of shattered promises and white retrenchment. Mixing biography with history, memoir and trenchant analysis of our moment, Begin Again bears witness to the difficult truth of race in America. It is at once a searing exploration that lays bare the tangled web of race, trauma, and memory, and a powerful interrogation of what we all must ask of ourselves in order to bring about a more just future.

Glaude will be in conversation with Rob Berkeley.

Click here to purchase <a href="https://pagesofhackney.co.uk/webshop/product/begin-again-james-baldwins-america-and-its-urgent-lessons-for-today-eddie-s-glaude-jr/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><b>Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Today<b></b></a>

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