Breaking Ground Across Continents – at Birmingham Literature Festival


With JJ Bola, Marcia Douglas and Yovanka Paquete Perdigao

Friday 13 October 2017, 19:30-21:00

Studio Theatre, Library of Birmingham,
Centenary Square, Broad Street
Birmingham B1 2DN

Tickets: £10/£8 concessions/Free with Festival Pass – info & tickets here >>


In today’s diverse and multicultural Britain, stories which cross continents are more relevant than ever. From London to the Caribbean via reggae and politics of the gun, to the personal scars inflicted on families by colonial histories which bind Europe to Africa, the themes explored by JJ Bola, Marcia Douglas and Yovanka Paquete Perdigao cross borders in exciting and fascinating ways. Come and enjoy hearing tales which weave comedy with tragedy, music with poetic prose, mysticism with cynicism … but which are always, above all, about the universality of the human spirit.

Part of the Breaking Ground series produced by Speaking Volumes Live Literature Productions

Watch JJ Bola read from his debut novel, No Place to Call Home, filmed at Writers of the World Unite at Waterstones Piccadilly, London, in April 2017. Film by Novel London.


JJ Bola is a Kinshasa-born (1986), London-raised writer, poet, educator and workshop facilitator. He performs regularly at shows and festivals and has published two books of poetry. JJ Bola’s work is centred on a narrative of empowerment, humanisation, healing of trauma as well as discovery of self through art, literature and poetry. He believes that the true purpose of art is to expose the reality of this world and how to, most importantly, survive it. His debut novel, No Place To Call Home, is just out, published by OWN IT!.

Marcia Douglas was born in the UK and grew up in Jamaica. She is the author of the novels The Marvellous Equations of the Dread: a Novel in Bass Riddim (2016), Madam Fate (1999) and Notes from a Writer’s Book of Cures and Spells (2005) as well as a collection of poetry, Electricity Comes to Cocoa Bottom (1999). Her work has appeared in journals and anthologies internationally, including Kingston Noir, Jubilation! Poems Celebrating 50 Years of Jamaican Independence and Home: An Imagined Landscape. Her awards include a UK Poetry Book Society Recommendation. In addition to writing, she performs a one-woman show, Natural Herstory, and teaches at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Yovanka Paquete Perdigao is a Bissau-Guinean writer and editor based in London. Born in Lisbon and raised in Ivory Coast and Senegal, her work is inspired by her experiences as a child refugee. Her poetry has been published in Brittle Paper, her translations in Jalada and her writing in the Guardian. Yovanka’s work was shortlisted for Penguin’s WriteNow competition in 2016 and she is currently working on a historical novel on a Luso-Ghanaian family whose roots trace back to the colonial massacre of Batepá in São Tomé and Príncipe.  When she is not writing, she is translating, editing or managing communications for London’s largest African literary festival, Africa Writes.

Writers above, left to right: Marcia Douglas, Yovanka Paquete Perdigao, JJ Bola