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A tender and tortured soul: Nathan Ives-Moiba as Marvin Gaye. Photo: Robert Day

Theatre: Hackney Empire
Play: Soul
Playwright: Roy Williams
Director: James Dacre

Review by Ronke Lawal

On April Fools’ Day 1984, hours before his 45th birthday, Marvin Gaye was shot dead by his father in the “Big House”, the shared family home owned by Gaye.

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Why documentaries are the future of filmmaking

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Filmmaker and producer Veronica McKenzie trekked to this year’s Sheffield doc fest for Words of Colour online, for the second year in a row. Although impressed with the quality of films – and grants – on offer, she was disappointed at the lack of films directed by filmmakers, and especially women, of colour. McKenzie explains how films featuring famous black women on screen were a sellout and why she ended up voguing on the dancefloor.

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Love N Stuff

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Playing for laughs: Bindi (Rina Fatania) and Mansoor (Nicholas Khan). Photo: Robert Day

Theatre: Theatre Royal Stratford East
Play: Love N Stuff
Playwright: Tanika Gupta
Director: Kerry Michael

Review by Arani Yogadeva

Tanika Gupta’s musical Wah! Wah! Girls was a big hit with audiences in 2012, especially the characters Bindi and Mansoor, a middle aged couple.

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Safe House

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Book: Safe House: Explorations in Creative Nonfiction
Editor: Ellah Wakatama Allfrey
Publisher: Cassava Republic Press
Price: £12.99 (paperback)

Review by Angela Howell

Safe House is a must read of creative non-fiction. This anthology of 14 real stories by talented authors from the African continent, including Mark Gevisser (Thabo Mbeki: The Dream Deferred) and Elnathan John (Flying) will take you on a journey of real enlightenment.

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The Nearness of You

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Book: The Nearness of You
Author: Sareeta Domingo
Publisher: Piatkus Books
Price: £8.99

Review by Reshma Ruia

Sareeta Domingo’s debut novel, The Nearness of You, can be read at two levels. It can be enjoyed as a refreshing urban take on a conventional Mills and Boon type of romance: girl meets boy who loves her, but is in a relationship with her best friend – but it all turns out right in the end.

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Season of Crimson Blossoms

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Book: Season of Crimson Blossoms
Author: Abubakar Adam Ibrahim
Publisher: Cassava Republic Press
Price: £9.99

Review by Ronke Lawal

Season of Crimson Blossoms is a vibrant love story set in the midst of political change and violence. It’s a Nigerian coming of age story which tackles religion, sex, wealth and power in a refreshingly poignant way.

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Interview with Sunny Singh

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Sunny Singh is an academic, novelist and activist with a prolific presence online. Born in Varanasi, India, she graduated from Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, in 1990 with a degree in English and American Literature. She has a Masters degree in Spanish Language, Literature and Culture from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and a PhD from the Universitat de Barcelona.

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Interview with Patrice Lawrence

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Patrice Lawrence has always wanted to be a writer. Alongside having a successful career in the charity sector, writing was something she always did – and supported and encouraged others to do. Born in Brighton to Caribbean parents, the self-confessed feminist and gardener lives in east London and has published work on equality and rights, as well as adult and children’s short stories through Hamish Hamilton, A and C Black and Pearson.

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Peepal Tree Salon

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Peepal Tree Press presents Peepal Tree Salon, featuring Yvonne Weekes (reading from Volcano), Desiree Reynolds (reading from Seduce) and Maya Chowdhry (reading from Fossil).

Yvonne Weekes believes that if you touch one soul, you change the world. If this is true, her impact has already been as forceful as the volcano she fled. As writer, actor, director, producer, performance poet, teacher facilitator, caring friend and mother, she has touched the souls of many and changed the lives of quite a few.

Desiree Reynolds was brought up in Clapham, London and started her writing career as a freelance journalist for the Jamaica Gleaner and the Village Voice. She has gone on to write film scripts, poetry and short stories. She continues to work as a journalist, writing book and film reviews. She is a broadcaster, creative writing workshop facilitator, DJ and mentor. Seduce is her first novel. She is currently working on a collection of short stories.

A poet, transmedia writer and activist, Maya Chowdhry’s previous poetry collection is The Seamstress and the Global Garment. She’s also published in many anthologies, including Out of Bounds (Bloodaxe) and magazines such as Ambit. She’s won many accolades for her work, including the Cardiff International Poetry Competition.Tales from the Towpath, commissioned by Manchester Literature Festival, was shortlisted for the 2014 New Media Writing Prize.

Date: Wednesday 15 June 2016

Time: 7pm

Venue: Waterstones Piccadilly, 203-206 Piccadilly, London W1J 9HD

To find out how to reserve your place for this free event visit Waterstones website.

The Invisible Hand

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The language of money: Daniel Lapaine (Nick) and Parth Thakerar (Bashir). Photo: Mark Douet

Theatre: Tricycle Theatre
Play: The Invisible Hand
Playwright: Ayad Akhtar
Director: Indhu Rubasingham

Review by Arani Yogadeva

The dog eat dog environment of a Wall Street trading floor is transplanted to a rural Pakistani prison cell in Tricycle Theatre’s production of Pulitzer award-winning writer Ayad Akhtar’s latest play The Invisible Hand.

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Image credit: Mido Diez

Ebook: Starstruck
Author: Rajeev Balasubramanyam
Publisher: The Pigeonhole
Price: £2.99

Review by Catrina Walters

The aptly titled Starstruck leaves you reflective of celebrity culture, fame and fandom, and how ordinary people interact with these stars. In our celebrity-mad, social media driven society, Starstruck deliciously interweaves stories connecting key characters through 10 short stories.

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