Breaking Ground in London – Tuesday 6 October

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Breaking Ground in London: A Black British Writing Showcase

7pm Tuesday 6 October 2015
Waterstones Piccadilly, 203/206 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9HD
Tickets: Free, but places mut be booked – e-mail


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As a preview to the Breaking Ground: Black British Writers US Tour that will be beginning at the end of October, there will be several events around the country. The first will be at Waterstones Piccadilly, London. Come and hear readings from some of the brightest names on the UK literary scene whose voices will soon be doing us proud on the other side of the pond. With novelist and writer Gabriel Gbadamosi, prize-winning poet Karen McCarthy-Woolf, novelist Irenosen Okojie and poet and musician Roger Robinson. Hosted by Deirdre Osborne, academic and co-convenor of the first MA in Black British Writing in the UK.


Gabriel Gbadamosi is an Irish-Nigerian poet, playwright and essayist born in London. He was AHRC Creative and Performing Arts Fellow at the Pinter Centre, Goldsmiths, and a Judith E Wilson Fellow for creative writing at Cambridge University. His plays include Shango, Hotel Orpheu and, for radio, The Long, Hot Summer of ’76 (BBC Radio 3), which won the Richard Imison Award. He has presented Night Waves on BBC Radio 3 and Art Beat on the World Service. Vauxhall, his first novel won the Tibor Jones Pageturner Prize for Fiction and Best International Novel at the 2013 Sharjah Book Fair. Gabriel lives in London and is RLF writing fellow at the City & Guilds of London Art School. As a poet he has worked on book collaborations with visual artists including The Second Life of Shells with Mandy Bonnell and Sun-Shine, Moonshine with Conroy/Sanderson. He is currently working on his second novel.

Karen McCarthy Woolf writes poetry, drama and short fiction for print, online, broadcast and live platforms. She has been awarded residencies at the literary development agency Spread the Word, the City of El Gouna, Egypt and The November Project — a tidal power sustainability initiative on the River Thames. Her poetry chapbook The Worshipful Company of Pomegranate Slicers was selected as a New Statesman Book of the Year and she was a runner up in the Cardiff International Poetry Prize with her poem ‘The Wish’. In 2010 a selection of her new poetry was published in Ten New Poets, an anthology showcasing the work of poets selected for The Complete Works development programme. She then edited the Ten: The New Wave anthology in 2014. Karen was also editor of the critically acclaimed anthology Bittersweet and is currently on the editorial boards of literary journal Wasafiri and Magma magazine and reviews for Modern Poetry in Translation. Karen’s most recent collection, An Aviary of Small Birds, was published by Carcanet in 2014 to critical acclaim.

Irenosen Okojie is a writer, curator and Arts Project manager. She has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Southbank Centre and the Caine Prize for African Writing. Her writing has been featured in the Guardian and the Observer. Her short stories have been published internationally, including the Kwani 07 and Phatitude. She was a selected writer by Theatre Royal Stratford East and Writer in Residence for TEDx East End. In 2014 she was the Prize Advocate for the SI Leeds Literary Prize and she is a mentor for the ‘Pen to Print’ Project. Her first novel Butterfly Fish was published in 2015 by Jacaranda Press.

Roger Robinson was chosen by Decibel as one of fifty writers who have influenced the Black British writing canon. A Trinidadian writer and performer who has lived in the UK for the last twenty years, he has received commissions from Theatre Royal Stratford East and The National Portrait Gallery among others. His books include fiction Adventures in 3D and poetry collections Suitcase, Suckle – Winner of the Peoples Book Prize – and The Butterfly Hotel, from which the poem ‘Trinidad Gothic’ was Highly Commended by the Forward Prize and shortlisted for the OCM Bocas Poetry Prize. Roger has created three one-man spoken word shows, delivered workshops and toured extensively abroad. He is a co-founder of both Spoke Lab and the international writing collective Malika’s Kitchen. As a musician he has released a solo album, Illclectica and is lead vocalist for King Midas Sound, whose critically acclaimed debut album Waiting for You was released on Hyperdub Records. His new solo EP ‘Novella’ is out now.

Deirdre Osborne is Reader in English Literature and Drama at Goldsmiths University of London. Her research interests are in late-Victorian literature and maternity, and Black British writing. Amongst her publications, she has guest-edited the special issue ‘Contemporary Black British Women’s Writing’ for Women: a Cultural Review (2009), two volumes of new plays by black British dramatists (Hidden Gems, 2008, 2012 Oberon Books) and co-edited Modern and Contemporary Black British Drama (Palgrave 2014). She co-convenes the MA Black British Writing (the first degree in the world in this field) with Prof. Joan Anim-Addo at Goldsmiths.


Tickets free, book your place by e-mailing: