Interview with Nuzo Onoh

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Coventry-based, African horror writer Nuzo Onoh is breaking new ground with her intriguing novel The Reluctant Dead. Steeped in the Igbo tradition, Onoh is championing the genre and believes it’s time for female horror writers to be recognised more widely. Born in Enugu, in the Eastern part of Nigeria (formerly known as The Republic Biafra), she lived through the Biafran War (1967 – 1970), an experience that continues to influence her writing.

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Perserverance Drive

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Finding redemption: Leo Wringer (Eli Gillard) and Clint Dyer (Josh Gillard). Picture credit: Richard Davenport

Play: Perserverance Drive
Theatre: Bush Theatre
Playwright: Robin Soans
Director: Madani Younis

Review by Natalie Gormally

Perseverance Drive is an absorbing play about a fragmented West Indian Pentecostal family, brought together by death and torn apart by conflicting attitudes towards faith.

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SI Leeds Literary prize longlist


Chair of the judging panel, the award-winning author of Pao, Kerry Young.

The SI Leeds Literary Prize for unpublished fiction by Black and Asian women has announced its 12 strong longlist from promising and accomplished writers, covering a wide range of genres and subjects.
They longlisted authors are:

• Red Is For Later and Other Stories – Farah Ahamed
• Bloody’s In The Bible – Muli Amaye
• Hanging From The Hammer Of The Bell – Season Butler
• Those Who Understand – Azma Dar
• Stories My Mother Told Me – Katy Massey
• The Khan – Saima Mir
• The Spaces Between Us – Emma Norry
• A Mouthful Of Silence – Reshma Ruia
• The Queen – Anita Sivakumaran
• The Constellation Of Us – Mahsuda Snaith
• Secrets Of The Land – Atuki Turner
• Blue In Green – Kit de Waal

The judges for the longlist were Elise Dillsworth of The Elise Dillsworth Agency, Gail Bolland for SI Leeds and Kadija George. The six shortlisted manuscripts will be selected from the longlist by the judging panel, chaired by head judge author Kerry Young. The shortlist will be announced in early September with the prize ceremony to take place on the 15 October 2014 as part of the Ilkley Literature Festival.



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Women in the spotlight: Joanna Kirkland and Yolanda Kettle. Photo credit: Skirmantas Petraitis

Play: Shutters
Theatre: Park Theatre
Playwrights: Brooke Allen, Philip Dawkins and Susan Glaspell
Director: Jack Thorpe Baker

Review by Maria Teresa Sette

A kaleidoscope of women’s lives as they grapple with intricate family dynamics, social prejudices, love and grief is at the heart of Shutters – Snapshots of life behind closed doors.

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Intimate Apparel

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Love in denial: Tanya Moodie (Esther) and Ilan Goodman (Mr Marks). Photo credit: Simon Annand

Play: Intimate Apparel
Theatre: Park Theatre
Playwright: Lynn Nottage
Director: Laurence Boswell

Review by Joy Francis

Acclaimed African American playwright Lynn Nottage’s innate ability to weave history, fiction and drama into a tantalising whole is present in her play Intimate Apparel, which gets its UK premiere in London 11 years after its first US production.

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From Zero to Hero: Writing with confidence seminar


How many of you have great ideas you’d like to write about – but have yet to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard? How often do you read a book or a blog and wonder – I’d like to do that, yet never follow through? How many stories about your life would you love to tell but are too scared to pursue? Whether it is writing a blog post, producing an article for a magazine or writing to promote you or your business, this tailored and interactive seminar with leading writing coach and author Jackee Holder, will help you discover ways to overcome your procrastination and keep writing when you eventually start.

Date Thursday 24 July 2014
Venue Lift Islington (Angel Room), 45 White Lion Street, London N1 9PW
Time: 6.30pm-8pm
Price: £10 (early bird); £10 (concessions); £15 (full price)
To book: Click here

Writing for TV: Soap Operas

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Soap operas are our guilty pleasure. The ability to write compelling storylines that become water cooler moments, which touch you emotionally as well as entertain, is an art. So what is the secret to writing a great soap plot, Christmas special or dastardly villain? How do you make a black or Asian family feel contemporary and authentic in a genre that relies, to some degree, on stereotypes? Join Cathianne Hall (Hollyoaks, Emmerdale, Coronation Street) and Veronica McKenzie (Coronation Street) to discover Why creating strong storylines is at the heart of a long running serial, how writers go about creating a high volume of story content, the role of a storyline team and how it works, finding a story with long term characters and take part in a Q&A.

Date: Tuesday 22 July 2014
Venue: Lift Islington (The Chapel Space), 45 White Lion Street, London N1 9PW
Time: 6.30pm-8pm
Price: £15 (early bird); £10 (concessions); £20 (full price)
To book: Click here

Revolution at the Royal Court

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The Royal Court’s innovative artistic director Vicky Featherstone usually creates a stir when she announces a new season. The one for Septemper 2014 to May 2015 is no exception with revolution in the air, says playwright Maxine Quintyne-Kolaru.

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The Colby Sisters of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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Sibling rivalry: Isabella Calthorpe (India), Charlotte Parry (Gemma), Alice Sanders (Mouse), Patricia Potter (Garden), Claire Forlani (Willow). Photo credit: Mark Douet

Play: The Colby Sisters of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Theatre: Tricycle Theatre
Playwright: Adam Bock
Director: Trip Cullman

Review by Natalie Gormally

Canadian-born writer Adam Bock reunites (for the fifth time) with director Trip Cullman to explore life behind the perfectly groomed and glamorous facade of high-society New York in this black comedy.

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Interview with Ony Uhiara

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Ony Uhiara is a woman of many faces. Best known for playing Adele in the BBC sitcom The Crouches, Uhiara has a glowing theatre career and was identified as a “gifted young theatre performer” by the Guardian theatre critic and blogger Lyn Gardner as early as 2006.

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Putting African women in the spotlight

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In her second and final report on the Sheffield Doc/Fest, filmmaker Veronica McKenzie meets up with two inspiring Kenyan women filmmakers to discuss their groundbreaking documentary Truck Mama on the elusive woman who drives a truck in South Africa on a notoriously dangerous route.

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