Cassava Republic Press (the first African publishing house in the UK) and brand communications agency A + F have joined forces to bring you Black: The Literary Salon, an event series dedicated to celebrating the best in Black literature. The aim of the events is to promote the richness and diversity of literary voices from the Black diaspora in a critical yet celebratory way, connecting authors, readers and thinkers, building the literary community and emphasising the need for conversation and dialogue about global black literature.
Thursday 27 February – Love and Desire
The inaugural event addresses the theme of love and desire, and features the following:
Olumide Popoola, an award-winning, London-based Nigerian-German writer, speaker and performer. Her previously published work includes This is Not about Sadness (Unrast, 2010), Also by Mail (edition assemblage, 2013), Breach, co-authored with Annie Holmes (Peirene Press, 2016), and her debut novel, When We Speak of Nothing, as well as recordings in collaboration with musicians.
Nigerian British writer Irenosen Okojie, whose debut novel Butterfly Fish won a Betty Trask award and was shortlisted for an Edinburgh International First Book Award. Her short story collection, Speak Gigantular, published by Jacaranda Books, was shortlisted for the Edgehill Short Story Prize, the Jhalak Prize, the Saboteur Awards and nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award. She was recently inducted as a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature as one of the Forty Under Forty initiative.
Diana Evans, whose bestselling debut novel, 26a, won the inaugural Orange Award for New Writers and the British Book Awards deciBel Writer of the Year prize. Her second novel is called The Wonder and her third novel, Ordinary People, which won the South Bank Sky Arts Award. An associate lecturer in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London, she was a Royal Literary Fellow at the London College of Fashion and the University of Kent.
Thursday 28 May – Exploring Maleness, Masculinity and Selfhood
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.
Thursday 24 September – Writing stories, Making Histories
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.