From Pasta to Pigfoot

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Book: From Pasta to Pigfoot
Author: Frances Mensah Williams
Publisher: Jacaranda Books
Price: £7.99

Review by Barbara Grant

This delightful romantic adventure captures, with stark realism, the journey of cultural awakening, self discovery, love and familial relationships experienced by the main character Faye Bonsu.

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Interview with Anastacia McCleskey

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Anastacia McCleskey is a familiar face on the Broadway circuit. At 19, soon after graduating from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, she landed a role in Hairspray and has flexed her vocal chords in shows such as the uber popular The Book of Mormon, Hair, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Tarzan.

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Interview Safia Elhillo

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At 24, Safia Elhillo is already a poetry veteran. She competed in slams from the age of 17, is published, teaches poetry at the International High School in Queens and has just completed an MFA in Poetry at The New School. She is also the joint winner, alongside Nick Makoha, of the Brunel University African Poetry Prize 2015.

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Interview with Nick Makoha

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Nick Makoha is no stranger to Words of Colour. When we interviewed him back in 2012 he was one of 10 new poets selected for Spread the Word’s Complete Works development programme, and his poems were published in the Ten Anthology. He had also just debuted his new show My Father and Other Superheroes.

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Mozart’s Don Giovanni

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Mozart’s Don Giovanni – the legendary lothario: Dr Lisa Engelbrecht (musical director and accompanist), Amanda Meke (Zerlina), Goitsemang Lehobye (Donna Elvira), Johannes Slabbert (Don Giovanni), Raimondo von Staden (Leporello and re-staging director), Maudee Montierre (Donna Anna), Martin Mkhize (Masetto/Commendadore). Photo credit: Kim Stevens

Musical: Mozart’s Don Giovanni
Theatre: Tricycle Theatre
Writer: Text adapted by Alexander Kuchinka
Re-staging director: Raimondo Viviano van Staden
Musical director and piano accompanist: Dr Lisa Engelbrecht

Review by Ronke Lawal

Mozart’s Don Giovanni, the tale of the tall, dark charismatic lothario who has a lover in every port, has been reimagined and modernised in this new and vibrant tragicomedy.

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Butterfly Fish

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Book: Butterfly Fish
Author: Irenosen Okojie
Publisher: Jacaranda Books
Price: £12.99

Review by Yvvette Edwards

Butterfly Fish, Irenosen Okojie’s debut novel, is an impressive gargantuan feast of a tale that spans several centuries and continents, bringing together a vivid and memorable cast connected by a brass head artefact, forged in fire, in 19th century Benin.

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Speaking Truth to Power event

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Join three leading writers from the Middle East as they debate the limits of freedom of expression in the region and beyond. Sinan Antoon is an Iraqi author currently living in New York, whose novels include The Corpse Washer and Ya Mariam. Choman Hardi is a Kurdish poet whose family were forced to flee Iraq several times. Samar Yazbek is a Syrian writer and journalist now living in exile and recipient of 2012 PEN/Pinter Writer of Courage award.

Speaking Truth to Power is part of a series of events from Shubbak, London’s largest biennial festival of contemporary Arab culture, presenting outstanding international Arab artists to London audiences and communities. The festival will showcase diverse work from a range of artists, some emerging talent, some celebrated names, through a mix of visual arts, film, music, theatre, dance, literature, architecture, lectures and discussions. This year’s festival includes an exciting array of new commissions and UK premieres, as well as family friendly and free events. View the full programme of events here.

Date: Thursday 23 July 2015
Time: 6.30pm – 8pm
Venue: Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA
Price: Free (booking required)
Website: englishpen.org


Open Heart Theatre with Euphoric Ink

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Join Ola Animashawun, creative director of Euphoric Ink as he introduces a pioneering new method for play development, Open Heart Theatre. By empowering the audience to be honest about their engagement with what they are watching, it aims to create an environment of mutual support between audience and writer – based on an agreed understanding that every second on stage must count. The event includes live performances of new, short-form dramas workshopped during London Writers Week and performed by professional actors along the principles of Open Heart Theatre.

Open Heart Theatre with Euphoric Ink is part of a series of events as part of the newly launched London Writers Week, an annual celebration of new writing talent in the UK. The week is overseen by Jennifer Tuckett, Course Leader for MA Dramatic Writing, in partnership with the British Writers Council, a body of industry professionals who have led the way in the UK in terms of new writing training. The week’s aims are to provide access to and showcase the best new ideas going on in terms of new writing in the UK.

Date: Saturday 11 July 2015
Time: 2pm – 5pm
Veune: Central Saint Martins, Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, London N1C 4AA
Price: £10, £8 (conc)
Website: Book here


Barbican Junior Poets showcase

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Join the Barbican in celebrating the achievements of the Barbican Junior Poets, made up of students from four Waltham Forest primary schools, as they showcase work created during its new poetry programme. Over the past six months, the Junior Poets have developed their skills in writing, performing poetry and spoken word while working with poets such as Toni Stuart, Kareem Parkins-Brown and Young Poet Laureate for London Aisling Fahey, who will be hosting the evening.

Date: Wednesday 8 July 2015
Time: 7pm
Venue: Frobisher Auditorium 1, Barbican, Silk St, London EC2Y 8DS
Price: Free (booking required)
Website: Book here


PEN authors at Edinburgh International Book Festival

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Eleven PEN-supported authors will be appearing at events across this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival, including  Cédric Villani, Yuri Herrera, Susana Moreira Marques, Etgar Keret and Alain Mabanckou.

The festival is the largest public celebration of the written word in the world, bringing over 800 writers and thinkers from across the globe to meet every August. The programme takes a voyage of discovery to every continent to see how the stories shape our lives, opinions and identities.

In its most international programme to date, the Book Festival welcomes voices from over 55 countries writing in a multitude of languages, many of whom are translated into English for the first time.

View the full programme of events here.

Date: Saturday 15 – Monday 31 August 2015
Venue: 5A Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, Midlothian EH2 4DR
Website: englishpen.org or edbookfest.co.uk


London Screenwriters Festival

Flyers LSF 2014 @ London Screenwriters' Festival 2013

The world’s biggest professional screenwriters event happens in London at Regent’s University for three days in October every year.

For those serious about their screenwriting career, the festival is where the industry’s top professionals deliver an intense and immersive set of lectures, seminars, workshops, script pitches and networking opportunities. Whether you are an experienced screenwriter, or an aspiring one, the London Screenwriters Festival (LSF) offers unparalleled access to speakers, teachers, show-runners, executives and decision makers from the UK and beyond.

Now in its third year, the LSF attracts over 150 industry expert speakers and this year is no exception, with a broad range of producers, actors, directors and screenwriters, including Kate Leys (Trainspotting, The Full Monty), Amit Gupta (Jadoo, One Crazy Thing) and Yvonne Grace (Eastenders, Holby City). While catering for over 600 delegates, LSF offers over 100 sessions delivered both live and online.

View the full programme of events here.

Date: Friday 23 – Sunday 25 October 2015
Venue: Regent’s University, Inner Circle, Regent’s Park, London NW1 4NS
Price: £338.00
Website: londonscreenwritersfestival.com