Marcia Douglas & Olive Senior in the UK

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Throughout October, two of Jamaica’s leading writers of novels, short stories and poetry are taking part

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Both authors have new books recently published in the UK

in events across the UK promoting the publication of their new books. Commonwealth Writers’ Prize-winner Olive Senior, and fellow multiple award-winner Marcia Douglas are giving readings and leading creative writing workshops in Birmingham and Brighton, Leeds and London, and Edinburgh and Durham.

Their programme includes in two special UK events of Speaking Volumes’ current Breaking Ground series: on Friday 13 October Marcia Douglas joins authors Yovanka Paquete Perdigao and JJ Bola to tell tales crossing the Caribbean and USA, Africa and Europe at Breaking Ground Across Continents at Birmingham Lit Fest.

The following day both Olive and Marcia come together at The British Library in London, with poets and musicians Anthony Joseph and Joshua Idehen, to explore the long relationship that music has with literature for Breaking Ground: Writing the Rhythm.

Both Marcia and Olive are celebrating the publication of new books with Leeds publisher Peepal Tree Press. Marcia Douglas’s The Marvellous Equations of Dread, set at the time of Bob Marley’s death, is a celebration of the endurance and creativity of the Jamaican people. The novel was longlisted for the 2017 Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. The Pain Tree is Olive Senior’s latest book of short stories, set in Jamaica with a cast of universal characters. Containing all of her wonderful wit and wisdom, The Pain Tree was the winner of the 2016 Bocas Prize.


Events (Click on events for information & tickets)

Friday 29 September: Olive Senior event at Small Wonder Festival, Charleston Trust, Sussex

Saturday 7 October: Olive Senior leads a short story workshop with Spread the Word at Finsbury Library, London [SOLD OUT]

Thursday 12 October: Olive Senior event with the University of Durham at Durham Book Festival

Friday 13 October: Marcia Douglas in Breaking Ground Across Continents at Birmingham Lit Fest, Studio Theatre, Birmingham

Friday 13 October: Olive Senor leads a poetry workshop with Malika’s Kitchen at The Poetry School, London [MEMBERS EVENT]

Saturday 14 October: Marcia Douglas and Olive Senior take part in Breaking Ground event Writing the Rhythm at The British Library, London

Monday 16 October: Marcia Douglas and Olive Senior event with Peepal Tree Press at the University of Leeds Poetry Centre

Tuesday 17 October: Olive Senior event at the Scottish Poetry Library, Edinburgh

Thursday 19 October: Olive Senior leads a short story workshop with New Writing South at The Writers’ Place, Brighton

Friday 20 October: Marcia Douglas and Olive Senior event with Speaky Spokey at Coachwerks, Brighton

Saturday 21 October: Marcia Douglas leads a short story workshop with Inscribe at DIY Space for London [SOLD OUT]


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.

Olive Senior is the prizewinning author of 17 books of fiction, poetry, non-fiction and children’s literature. Born and brought up in Jamaica, she now lives in Canada. The Caribbean nevertheless remains the focus of her work and The Pain Tree won the overall 2016 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean literature. In 2015, she won the OCM Bocas non-fiction prize for Dying to Better Themselves: West Indians and the Building of the Panama Canal. Other awards include the first Commonwealth Writers Prize for her book Summer Lightning and the Institute of Jamaica’s Musgrave gold medal for her contribution to Jamaican heritage. She is on the faculty of the Humber School for Writers, Humber College, Toronto.