Jean Binta Breeze supports Time to Change campaign

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Internationally acclaimed spoken word artist and poet Jean Binta Breeze is supporting a new social marketing mental health campaign targeting people from African and Caribbean communities. From 10 October to 23 November 2014, Time to Change, England’s biggest mental health anti stigma campaign run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, will use the campaign to exploring the theme ‘forget the label…just listen’. Binta Breeze has been appointed as a Time to Change media champion through the support of cultural organisation renaissance one.

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Interview with Walter Mosley

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Walter Mosley is one of the world’s most admired writers, and certainly one of the most respected African American scribes. Of mixed race heritage – a Jewish mother and African American father – this only child was surrounded by storytelling while growing up (from his Russian relatives on his mother’s side to tales of the Deep South on his father’s).

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The complexity of race and identity: Steve John Shepherd as the troubled Paul Ryman. Photo credit: Richard Davenport

Play: Albion
Theatre: Bush Theatre
Playwright: Chris Thompson
Director: Ria Parry

Review by Natalie Gormally

Chris Thompson’s explosive new play examines the turbulent rise of the new far-right in modern day Britain.

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SI Leeds Literary Prize events

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A national, biennial award for black and Asian women writers in the UK, founded in 2012, the SI Leeds Literary Prize is hosting two events. First the SI Leeds Literary Prize readings sees award winning writer, broadcaster and journalist Dreda Say Mitchell (pictured, left) introduce the SI Leeds Literary Prize shortlisted writers at Rich Mix in London. The second event is the SI Leeds Literary prize celebration, featuring A Little Dust on the Eyes by Minoli Salgado which won the inaugural SI Leeds Literary Prize. Acclaimed author and literary critic Bernardine Evaristo (pictured, right) will introduce this debut novel. This pre-award announcement celebration features discussion and performances, including readings from the 2014 SI Leeds Literary Prize shortlist. It includes the opportunity to meet Minoli and buy her book. There will also be a drinks reception on the Level 5 Balcony Bar after the event.

SI Leeds Literary Prize readings

Date: Monday 22 September 2014
Venue : Main Space, Rich Mix 35 – 47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA
Time: 7.30pm
Price: Free, but booking required.
Bookings: To book, click here

SI Leeds Literary Prize celebration

Date: Wednesday 8 October 2014
Venue : Level 5 Function Room, Royal Festival Hall, the Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX
Time: 7pm
Price: Free, but booking required.
Bookings: To book, click here

Is English we speaking?

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Is English We Speaking: A Reading by Jamaica’s Poet Laureate Mervyn Morris (pictured) with special guests John Hegley and Mimi Khalvati, is being hosted by Wasifiri as part of its 30th birthday celebrations. Morris is one of the finest international contemporary poets, and was recently appointed poet laureate of Jamaica. He has also nurtured generations of outstanding Caribbean voices over decades. In London for a rare appearance, Morris will read the incisive poetry that characterises his work, which ranges from the personal to the political, from the local to the universal, and which has come to be seen as some of the best writing to emerge out of the Caribbean in modern times. He will be joined by John Hegley and Mimi Khalvati (pictured), two highly distinctive poets whose work challenges and engages diverse audiences in its choice of subject, language and form.

Date: Monday 13 October
Venue : Conference Centre, British Library, Euston Road, London NW1
Time: 6.30pm
Price: £10.00; £8.00 (over 60s); £7.00
Bookings: To book, click here

Pandora’s Box returns to the stage

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Following sell-out shows at Arcola Theatre, the acclaimed, award-winning British-African family drama, Pandora’s Box, by Ade Solanke, embarks on its long-awaited UK tour. Nominated for this year’s $100,000 Nigeria Prize for Literature, Africa’s biggest literary award, and nominated for Best New Play in the Off West End Theatre Awards, this moving tragicomedy about families, betrayal, choices and love is a must-see. This autumn offers the chance to catch this ‘touching, hilarious’ (The Stage) play that has been dazzling audiences with its ‘enthralling, brilliant’ (Public Reviews) story and performances. Pandora’s Box is funded by Arts Council England with additional funding from the Unity Theatre Trust. Directed by Shade Oladiti, co-produced by Jon Harris.

Date: On national tour until 1 November 2014
Venue listing and how to book : Go here

Wasafiri’s Words on the Water Literary Boat Trip

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In celebration of Wasafiri 30th birthday it is hosting Words on the Water: A Literary Boat Trip, a river cruise bringing together six of the best writers representing the diversity of London. Readings will cross continents and cultures, with author and The Guardian critic Sukhdev Sandhu, award-winning novelists A M Bakalar and Gabriel Gbadamosi and acclaimed poets Michelle Cahill, Zena Edwards and Ruth Padel. The event will be hosted by the Forward Prize winning poet Daljit Nagra. Each ticket holder will receive a free copy of Wasafiri’s 30th anniversary issue and a commemorative linen bag.

Date: Sunday 21 September 2014
Venue: The William B River Cruiser, Westminster Pier, Victoria Embankment, London SW1A 2JH. Nearest tube: Westminster
Time: 2pm-2.15pm embarkation; 5.15pm-5.30pm disembarkation
Price: £15
To book: Click here
For more information: Click here

Interview with Daniel Fajemisin-Duncan and Marlon Smith

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Words of Colour Productions’ executive director Joy Francis met with Daniel Fajemisin-Duncan and Marlon Smith, the award-winning writers of Channel 4′s acclaimed four part drama series RUN. Friends since their teens, their strong creative partnership secured them a Royal Television Society Award and a BAFTA award for their writing skills.

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Interview with Paulette Randall

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Paulette Randall is one of this country’s most successful female theatre directors. She has already made history as associate director for the London 2012 opening ceremonies alongside Danny Boyle, and as the first black woman to direct a play in the West End, August Wilson’s Fences in 2013. Yet despite her theatrical pedigree and solid reputation, she is not as well known as she deserves to be.

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Launch of

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Angie Le Mar has been announced as the brand ambassador for, a new portal which focuses on the African Diaspora. Using cutting edge technology and social media tools, the site will connect communities through the latest news, developments and cultural trends from across the globe as well as provide a forum for the exchange of views, ideas and experiences. It will deliver news twice daily to all African and African Diaspora countries (over 100 in total). Readers will be able to access a country specific newspaper via an interactive map. Subscription to the site’s newspapers is free. The site will also include sections on film and entertainment, a marketplace with African Diaspora related products for sale and the sites DNA testing products. Le Mar is developing several web series to be launched on the site, including Ladies Talk International.

Launch dates: Saturday 16 August 2014 (London); Saturday 13 September 2014 (New York)
Venue: Tricycle Theatre, 269 Kilburn High Road, London NW6 7JR (London launch)
Time: 5pm-7.30pm
To book: Email to get on the guestlist at
Find out more: Click here

The House That Will Not Stand cast announced

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Tricycle Theatre’s artistic director Indhu Rubasingham has announced the cast for the UK premiere of Marcus Gardley’s The House That Will Not Stand. Set in New Orleans in 1836, following an era of French colonial rule and relative racial acceptance, Louisiana’s ‘free people of color’ are prospering. Beartrice has become one of the city’s wealthiest women through her relationship with a rich white man. However, when her partner mysteriously dies, the foundations of freedom she has built for herself and their three unwed daughters begins to crumble. For The House That Will Not Stand, Rubasingham will direct Ronke Adekoluejo (Odette), Ayesha Antoine (Agnes), Michele Austin (La Veuve), Martina Laird (Beartrice), Tanya Moodie (Makeda), Clare Perkins (Marie Josephine), Danusia Samal (Maude Lynn) and Paul Shelley (Lazare).

Date: 17 October-22 November (previews from 9 October)
Venue: Tricycle Theatre, 269 Kilburn High Road, London NW6 7JR
Price: £10-£28 (concs available)
To book: 020 7328 1000