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Africa Writes presents

Africa Writes 2018 Party with Octavia Poets & Special Guests

Saturday 30 June
From £8.00
to £10.00
All orders will be subject to a fee of £1.50 except if your tickets are free or if you are a member

In a nutshell

Octavia Poetry Collective host the festival party for the UK’s biggest celebration of writing from Africa and the diaspora.

Go on...

Following 2017's sold out R.A.P Party, Africa Writes returns with the official festival party hosted by Octavia Poetry Collective. Join us for a Wakanda-themed evening of poetry, music and dancing into the night / future where we'll showcase and celebrate the words, the art, the song of womxn from Africa and the diaspora.

What to Expect

An evening of thoughtful moments, movement and celebration. 

Featuring Octavia poets Theresa Lola, Momtaza Mehri, Sarah Lasoye, Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Hibaq Osman, Rachel Long, Belinda Zhawi, and Amina Jama. Award-winning author and long-time advocate for writers of colour Bernardine Evaristo will give a speech on ‘Warrior Womxn Writers’.

Followed by dancing and afro-influenced sounds from across the diaspora, presented by DJ Tone and DJ Ca$h Era

Who's Involved

Octavia is a poetry group of women of colour, led by Rachel Long. The group explores issues of intersectionality, sexuality, and the representation of women of colour.

Africa Writes festival is an annual celebration of contemporary literature from Africa and the diaspora brought to you by The Royal African Society. Over an exciting summer weekend at the Rich Mix and the British Library, Africa Writes presents a host of book launches, readings, performance, discussions, masterclasses and workshops. 

gal-dem is a magazine (online and in print) and creative collective comprised of over 70 women and non-binary people of colour which launched in September 2015.

Octavia poets

Theresa Lola is a Nigerian British poet born in 1994.  She was shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize 2017, and won the Hammer and Tongue National Poetry Slam in 2017. In 2018 was one of three awarded the 2018 Brunel International African Poetry Prize. Theresa is an alumna of the Barbican Young Poets programme. She was awarded an Arts Council/British Council International Development Grant to run poetry workshops at the Lagos International Poetry Festival in Nigeria in 2017. Theresa is part of SXWKS creative collective and Octavia Women of Colour collective which is resident at the Southbank Centre in London. She is currently working on her debut full length poetry collection.

Momtaza Mehri is a poet and essayist. Born in 1994, her work has been featured in DAZED, Buzzfeed, Vogue, BBC Radio 4, Poetry Society of America, Mask Magazine and Poetry Review. She is a Complete Works Fellow, winner of the 2017 Outspoken Page Poetry Prize and she took third prize in the National Poetry Competition 2018. Her chapbook sugah lump prayer was published by Akashic books/ African Poetry Book Fund in 2017. She also edits Diaspora Drama, a digital platform showcasing international immigrant art. She was awarded the Brunel International African Poetry Prize and became the Young People’s Laureate of London in 2018.

Sarah Lasoye is a British-born Nigerian poet and writer based in London. An alumni of the Barbican Young Poets programme, she’s performed at venues from the Southbank Centre and TATE. Her work has been commissioned by St. Paul’s Cathedral, in addition to being featured on BBC Radio 4. Sarah also writes for gal-dem, an online magazine written by women of colour. 

Victoria Adukwei Bulley is a poet, writer and filmmaker. An alumna of the Barbican Young Poets, her work has featured in The Poetry Review, Ambit and, in addition to being broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour. She was shortlisted for the Brunel University African Poetry Prize 2016, and has held residencies internationally in the US and Brazil, alongside London’s V&A Museum. Her debut pamphlet, Girl B, is part of the 2017 New-Generation African Poets series. Victoria is the director of MOTHER TONGUES, an intergenerational poetry, film and translation project supported by Arts Council England and Autograph ABP. 

Hibaq Osman is a Somali writer born and based in London. Her work centres women, identity and the healing process. Her focus is on the hidden aspects of life and how we can bring the unspoken to the forefront of our minds and mouths. Her debut poetry collection A Silence You Can Carry was published with Out-Spoken Press in 2015. As a member of OCTAVIA - a fantastic group of women of colour poets - Hibaq works towards a future where funding and access to the arts for Black people across the board is the norm and not an exception.

Rachel Long is founder of Octavia – Poetry Collective for Womxn of Colour, which is housed at Southbank Centre, London. She is Assistant Tutor to Jacob Sam La-Rose on the Barbican Young Poets programme 2015-present. @rachelnalong.

Belinda Zhawi is a Zimbabwean born writer, educator. Belinda was a 2015/16 London Laureate (shortlistee for Young People’s Laureate for London) & the 2016/17 Institute of Contemporary Arts Associate Poet. She’s co-founder & host of the bi-monthly poetry social, BORN::FREE. She’s currently based in London, working on her debut pamphlet forthcoming in 2018 on ignitionpress.

Amina Jama is a Somali-British writer. She was the Roundhouse & BBC Radio 1Xtra’s Words First London finalist, alumni of Barbican Young Poets, co-host of BoxedIN at Boxpark, Shoreditch, and Assistant Tutor for the Roundhouse Poetry Collective. Her work explores displacement, dual cultural identity and family. She has been published in The Things I Would Tell You, a Saqi Books anthology, and Rising Stars children’s anthology by Otter-Barry Books. She has been commissioned by the BBC, The Queens Gallery, Buckingham Palace, and the London Mayor’s Office.

Special guest Bernardine Evaristo is the British-Nigerian author of eight books of fiction and verse fiction. She is also a literary critic and Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University London. She has founded and co-founded many arts inclusion initiatives including Theatre of Black Women in the 1980s, Spread the Word in the 1990s, The Complete Works poetry scheme in the 2000s, and the Brunel International African Poetry Prize in 2012. She is Vice Chair of the Royal Society of Literature and an MBE.

What people are saying

An inspiring experience to be part of – Fringe Frequency

Britain’s foremost Africa gathering – Chuma Nwokolo, writer

As I left [the festival] I marvelled at how multifaceted and rich the continent is. I am counting down the days until the 2018 event. – Vanessa Thomas, Melan Mag

Why does Rich Mix matter?

'One of the most vital venues in London – bringing together artists and people of diverse backgrounds through art and culture.'

Find out more

Africa Writes festival runs Friday 29 June – Sunday 1 July at the British Library and Rich Mix. Tickets for other events are available through the British Library website. / @AfricaWritesUK

Things you should know

This event with be BSL interpreted

Suitable for ages 16+

This event is wheelchair accessible.