Join The British Library for an evening of readings, stories and conversation celebrating the life and work of the Jamaican poet, writer, broadcaster and activist, Andrew Salkey (1928–1995). Andrew Salkey was a co-founder of the Caribbean Artists Movement, a writer, a poet, and a teacher. He embodied the Black Radical Tradition in his writing, his politics, and in his support for other creative individuals.
This event reflects on the depth and breadth of Salkey’s work and his myriad of interests with contributions and reflections from his son Jason Salkey, the poet Linton Kwesi Johnson and the writer, Gwen Strauss, who both regarded Salkey as a friend and mentor. The poet, Raymond Antrobus, talks about Salkey’s poetry and how it influenced his own work and Eric Huntley, an early publisher of Salkey’s works, looks back at their friendship.
Two leading performance writers talk through the process of writing for stage, screen or page. Inua Ellams, a UK-based poet, playwright and performer, and Kieran Hurley, a writer, performer and theatre maker, are both leaders in their field and share their insights in telling stories across all forms. This event is part of Storytalks, a series of talks from the UK’s storytelling experts programmed as part of Evolve, an imaginative programme of events and artworks within Devon’s Libraries. This event was livestreamed from Exeter Library on 7 November 2019.
Former Children’s Laureate, Malorie Blackman, reflected on her writing career and how her work has been adapted into graphic fiction, plays and TV series, ahead of the release of the 2020 TV adaptation of her award-winning YA series 'Noughts and Crosses'. She was joined by 'Noughts and Crosses' scriptwriter Nathaniel Price and journalist Nicolette Jones. This event was programmed to coincide with the British Library's exhibition on rebels in children’s literature, in partnership with The Royal Society of Literature.
On a rare visit to Britain Thomas Keneally, author of the Booker Prize-winning Schindler’s Ark, talked to Margie Orford about his new work The Book Of Science & Antiquities, a bold, millennia-spanning novel about what it means to be human. This event was livestreamed from the British Library on 29 August 2019 to public libraries across the UK. All views expressed are the speakers' own. Please note this event contains strong language.
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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.
<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>
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This event took place on: 30 September 2020.
In the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the resultant global Black Lives Matter protests, it has been clearer than ever before that the voices of some are prioritised to the exclusion of others.
As part of Banned Books Week 2020 – an annual celebration of the freedom to read – the RSL, in partnership with British Library, Index on Censorship and English PEN, brings together a panel of writers who have committed to sharing their stories, to creating without compromise, and to inspiring others to do the same. Rachel Long, Elif Shafak, and Jacqueline Woodson explore what ‘freedom’ means in the culture of traditional publishing, and how writers today can change the future of literature. Chaired by Urvashi Butalia.
This event is available to the audiences and users of public libraries through the Living Knowledge Network.