Breaking Ground Brussels: Black Britain


8pm Saturday 20 October

BOZAR – Centre for Fine Arts Brussels
Rue Ravensteinstraat 23,
1000 Brussels

Tickets: €‬8 / €‬6 concessions

With: Inua Ellam, Bernardine Evaristo, Amina Jama, Catherine Johnson, Nick Makoha and Roger Robinson, plus special guest Linton Kwesi Johnson
Hosted by Elisabeth Severino Fernandes aka Miss Elli
As part of: Looking B(l)ack Symposium

For the final Breaking Ground Europe showcase we are pulling out all of the stops. From the outside British literature largely seems like a white boys’ club, but there is plenty more to discover. Five British authors of colour, with African and Caribbean roots, will read from their work at ‘Black Britain’ a speacial night produced by Speaking Volumes for the ‘Looking B(l)ack’ conference, a collaboration between Johny Pitts’s Afropean and BOZAR.

The legendary Linton Kwesi Johnson will open the evening reading one of his poems. He will be followed by giants and rising stars of the black British literary scene: novelist Bernardine Evaristo, children’s and YA author Catherine Johnson, and poets Amina Jama and Inua Ellams. They write about the ins and outs of Her Majesty’s Empire; about identity, migration, racism, love and protest. The authors will read excerpts from their own work.

The evening ends with a special performance of Nick Makoha and Roger Robinson’s ‘Mixtape’, a poetry show that mixes storytelling, video and imagery with music and spoken word.

A booklet containing specially commissioned Dutch and French translations of extracts of each writer’s work will be distributed at the event.

Born in Nigeria, Inua Ellams is a poet, playwright & performer, graphic artist & designer. He has been commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, National Theatre, Tate Modern, Louis Vuitton, Chris Ofili, BBC Radio & Television.

Bernardine Evaristo is Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University and the multiple award-winning author of seven books of fiction and verse fiction that explore the African diaspora, as well as writing short stories, essays, poetry, literary criticism and BBC radio drama.

Amina Jama is a London-based Somali-British writer. She was the Roundhouse & BBC Radio 1Xtra’s Words First London finalist, alumnus of Barbican Young Poets, co-host of BoxedIN at Boxpark Shoreditch. Her work explores displacement, dual cultural identity and family.

Catherine Johnson is an acclaimed writer who has written over twenty novels for young readers. She has also written for TV. Her film work includes the award-winning Bullet Boy, and her radio play, Fresh Berries, was shortlisted for the Prix Italia.

Linton Kwesi Johnson was born in 1952 in Jamaica. He came to London in 1963. He was a member of the Black Panthers, and developed his work with Rasta Love, a group of poets and drummers. In 1974 Race Today published Johnson’s first collection of poetry, Voices of the Living and the Dead. He has had four more books published and in 2002 became only the second living poet and the first black poet to have his work included in Penguin’s Modern Classics series, under the title Mi Revalueshanary Fren: Selected Poems. Linton Kwesi Johnson has been running his own record label, LKJ Records, since 1981. He has worked in journalism and still regularly tours around the world with the Dennis Bovell Dub Band.

Born in Uganda, Nick Makoha fled the country with his mother during the Idi Amin dictatorship. He has presented his work at many international events. He is an original Speaking Volumes Breaking Ground writer, as well as running the Youth Poetry Network.

Roger Robinson is a writer, poet and musician. He is an unrelenting and constant observer of life in Brixton and of post-riot/pre-Brexit Britain. An internationally respected dub poet, his work is a powerful mix of poetry rhythm and socially conscious themes.