Exploring Maleness, Masculinity and Selfhood
Thursday 25 June
The salon asks writers and the audience to consider what it means to be a man today exploring issues surrounding male identity: Is there really a crisis of masculinity? What is toxic masculinity? How are men and boys affected by misogyny, homophobia and narrow definitions of manhood? This salon will consider all of these questions and will also explore the particular challenges facing Black men and boys.
Paul Mendez lives in London and is studying for an MA in Black British Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has been a performing member of two theatre companies, and worked as a voice actor, appearing on audiobooks by Andrea Levy, Paul Theroux and Ben Okri, most recently recording Ian Wright’s A Life in Football for Hachette Audio. As a writer, he has contributed to the Times Literary Supplement and the Brixton Review of Books. Rainbow Milk is his debut novel.
Elnathan John is one of Nigeria’s most well-known contemporary satirists. He has twice been shortlisted for the prestigious Caine Prize for African Writing (2013 & 2015). His writing has been published in Per Contra, Evergreen Reviewand Chimurenga's The Chronic. His debut novel, Born on a Tuesday,won a Betty Trask Award in 2017. He was a judge for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize.
Thando Mgqolozana is a South African novelist. His novels include A Man Who is Not a Man (2009), Hear Me Alone (2011), and Unimportance (2014). He was selected as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans (2016) and a Mandela Rhodes Scholar (2006). His is the co-author of Inxeba: The Wound (2018), an Oscar-shortlisted, record breaking film. He is the founder of Abantu Book Festival, a hallmark annual literary event staged in Soweto.
Writing stories, Making Histories
Thursday 24 September
Black histories are under-explored and frequently written from a Eurocentric, White-supremacist perspective. This salon will explore how Black writers, both fiction and non-fiction, engage with the past and challenge the audience to consider their own relationships with history.
Love and Desire
Thursday 27 February 2020 - online media of the event tbc
In keeping with the spirit of the month each writer will invite the audience to think about different forms of love and desire, and reveal the ways in which these concepts are explored in their writing. The writers:
Olumide Popoola, London-based Nigerian-German writer, speaker and performer, with a PhD in Creative Writing and recipient of the May Ayim Award (2004) in the category Poetry - the first Black German Literary Award.
Irenosen Okojie, Nigerian British author whose debut novel ‘Butterfly Fish’ won a Betty Trask award and was shortlisted for an Edinburgh International First Book Award. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, the Observer, the Guardian, BBC and the Huffington Post amongst other publications. She was recently inducted as a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature as one of the Forty Under Forty initiative.
Diana Evans, Nigerian British former dancer, journalist, critic, lecturer and author, whose accolades include Orange Award for New Writers, British Book Awards deciBel Writer of the Year, shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel, the Guardian First Book, the Commonwealth Best First Book and the Times/Southbank Show Breakthrough awards, and long listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her third novel, Ordinary People, which was a New Yorker, New Statesman and Financial Times book of the year, was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Rathbones Folio Prize and the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction among others, and won the South Bank Sky Arts Award.