Breaking Ground USA

Breaking Ground booklet

Breaking Ground – Black British Writers US Tour

We are about to take Breaking Ground back to the USA for the second part of the tour, starting in April 2016.

Click on event titles for more information

Thursday 28 April

Breaking Ground at Seton Hall, New Jersey with Bernardine Evaristo and Colin Grant  

Free and open to the public | 6-8pm | Arts & Sciences Hall, room 107, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ

Friday 29 April

Breaking Ground at New York University with Bernardine Evaristo and Colin Grant

Monday 2 May

Creative writing workshops at California State Prison-Sacramento (formerly Folsom Prison)

Workshops for inmates will be conducted by Diran Adebayo, Gabriel Gbadamosi, Colin Grant, Nick Makoha, Johny Pitts and Roger Robinson | Closed event

Monday 2 May

Jay Bernard and Bernardine Evaristo – brown bag event at University of California at Davis

Tuesday 3 May

Breaking Ground Black British Writers Showcase featuring all ten tour writers – Mondavi Center 

Tickets $30 / $10 concessions | 8-10pm | Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center, University of California, Davis, CA

Wednesday 4 May

Breaking Ground Showcase at Green Apple Books, San Francisco

Featuring nine tour writers |  7.30-9.30pm | Green Apple Books on the Park, 1231 9th Avenue, SF CA

Thursday 4 May

Breaking Ground Writers visiting classes at University of California, Davis

Closed event | various times | UC Davis

Thursday 4 May

Breaking Ground Readings at UC Davis 

Details TBC

Breaking Ground writers in Charleston

Breaking Ground writers in Charleston; l-r: Karen McCarthy Woolf; Nick Makoha; Jay Bernard; Gabriel Gbadamosi; Johny Pitts; Bernardine Evaristo; Diran Adebayo; Roger Robinson; Colin Grant

Breaking Ground had a very successful start in 2015, with three events around England followed by the first part of the US programme. Ten of the best Balck British writers gave lectures at Rutgers University, NY; conducted workshops with young poets in Chicago, IL; presented solo shows in Pittsburgh, PA; and visited classes at Emory,  the first black college in the US, in Atlanta, GA. This series ended with a full showcase of of all ten authors at the 2015 Association for the Study of Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD) conference in SC.

We are now preparing to return to the West Coast of America in May 2016, and are looking for opportunities for the writers to take part in events in California, Oregon, Washington – if you would like to host a Breaking Ground event get in touch with Sharmilla ( or Nick (


The Breaking Ground tour list consists of five prose writers, five poets. All of the artists present a vast range of themes in their work and many are multi-genre writers, combining poetry and playwriting, for example. We have paid particular attention to balancing gender and age and to presenting both new and established names to audiences.

The ten tour writers are:

Diran AdebayoJay BernardBernardine EvaristoGabriel GbadamosiColin Grant

Nick Makoha Karen McCarthy WoolfJohny PittsRoger RobinsonWarsan Shire

(click each name to find out more about the individual writers)

To read a full introduction and rationale behind the tour, click here >

As we are unfortunatley limited in the number of writers we can take on the tour we are producing a booklet featuring a further 40 of the best contemporary Black British writers, which we will distribute everywhere we go in the US, to help further promote black writing. We will publish an online version of this booklet soon.

In addition to the events in the US, we are hosting preliminary tour events in the UK:

Breaking Ground in London – Tuesday 6 October, Waterstones Piccadilly

Breaking Ground in Manchester – Thursday 8 October, Moss Side Powerhouse Library

Breaking Ground in Bristol – Wednesday 14 October


Breaking Ground is conceived, curated and organised by Speaking Volumes. We specialise in producing engaging and excellent literary events designed to appeal to a broad audience and introducing unknown international writing to the UK and Europe. We are committed to making the best British literature known around the world.

As a result of ongoing demand from North American contacts, we have planned an ambitious tour of the USA. Focused around the major talent of the UK’s Black British writers, Breaking Ground is an opportunity for some of Britain’s most exciting literary talents to reach the established US book markets and readers. At this moment in the twenty-first century, Breaking Ground represents a thoughtful and imaginative way of presenting a positive Black British experience based on a spirit of collaboration and exchange.