Second Bare Lit fest connecting writers from ethnic communities and readers opens today…
WRITERS often perceived as being from the margins or not relevant to mass audiences will participate in a two-day festival that puts them and their ideas centre stage today.
It’s the second Bare Lit Festival and it starts this morning at Tonybee Studios in East London.
Created to address the fact that only about four per cent of authors appearing at this country’s biggest literature festivals were from a minority ethnic background, a group of writers, academics and activists came together to create a festival which helped to promote the nation’s writers of colour and their work.
Themes today range from cookery to erotica to activism – the subject of this morning’s opening session is Hope in times of hopelessness, with a range of writers from publications such as Vice and The Guardian discussing the subject.
Among today’s participants at other talks are Vivek Shanbag and Bobby Nayyar, who appear in a session on the art of editing; Yasmin Gunaratnam, author of ‘Go Home! The Politics of Immigration Controversies’ discusses community memories; Ayisha Malik (‘Sophia Khan is not obliged’ talks about women writing about women; and Arifa Akbar, from The Independent discusses eroticism and associated subjects with others.
Among the highlights on Sunday is the jury from the recently inaugurated Jhalak Prize talking about their experiences adjudicating the first such literary prize dedicated to celebrating voices from Britain’s black and Asian ethnic minority communities. Sunny Singh, one of the prime instigators of the prize, will be joined by fellow jury members Yvette Johnson and Catherine Johnson.
Novelist Gautam Malkani, who has just launched a crowd-funding campaign to publish his next book, discusses publishing with key figures from the industry tomorrow. They will explore the issue of – finding a way to the audience sun, looking at different ways of reaching readers other than through traditional book publishing.
Also tomorrow, award winning novelist Kerry Young presents the Royal Literary Fund’s keynote speech this year. It will address the subject of what are the personal, social and political responsibilities of the writer today.
Last night saw the launch of a related anthology – ‘Bare Lit’. This contains fiction and poetry by writers who have appeared and support the Bare Lit Festival and showcases the best. The book is edited by Kavita Bhanot, Courttia Newland and Mend Mariwany. The books contains 22 pieces by 17 different writers. All proceeds go towards continuing to support the Bare Lit Festival authors of colour.
Bare Lit Festival, 28 Commercial St, London E1 6AB
Some tickets remain available to purchase on the door…
For details of the ‘Bare Lit’ Anthology, including purchase, see here: http://www.brainmillpress.com/books/bare-lit/