Word of Colour

Irenosen Okojie to be Words of Colour Productions’ first writer in residence

Award-winning author Irenosen Okojie will be Words of Colour Productions’ first ever Writer in Residence, taking up her residency in Bristol during Black History Month 2019.

The author of Butterfly Fish and Speak Gigantular will be supported by Words of Colour Productions, a creative communications agency that develops writers of colour, to identify talented writers, particularly women, and to uncover hidden black history in Bristol.

Irenosen Okojie said of the residency: “I’m thrilled to do this residency as part of Words of Colour’s fantastic programme of development for writers at all levels. I’m excited to engage with Bristol’s thriving creative communities, in particular the voices of women of colour. I want to hear their stories, and to encourage and support them in a political climate where the power of artistic expression feels more necessary than ever.”

During October, the residency be will spread across three locations: Junction 3 Library, Easton, St Pauls Community Centre, St Pauls and Waterstones Bristol Galleries, Broadmead.

There will be a writers’ workshop for women of colour, one-to-one drop in sessions, which is open to all writers of colour, closing with a free In Conversation… event with Irenosen Okojie at Waterstones to discuss the residency and to celebrate the launch of her anticipated new short story collection Nudibranch, published by Dialogue Books.

At the end of the residency, Okojie will produce a specially commissioned piece of writing, which will feature exclusively on Words of Colour’s website.

Joy Francis, executive director of Words of Colour, said: “Irenosen Okojie is one of the most original and bold voices in British literature today, so it is befitting for her to be our first ever Writer in Residence. We have profiled her writing journey over the years and have had the pleasure of working with her. Irenosen is not only a writer, but a literary activist who is passionate about supporting other writers of colour, which is also our mission. As we are based in two creative cities – London and Bristol – her long-standing interest in Bristol’s history is an added bonus.”

Edouard Gallais, events manager at Waterstones Bristol Galleries and a residency project partner, added: “We’re very happy and excited to continue the partnership between Words of Colour and Waterstones Bristol, to bring more inclusive and outstanding authors to meet our local community.”

Further details about how to book for the workshop, drop-in sessions and In Conversation… event will be announced at the end of September 2019.

The Residency Schedule

Residency research base: Junction 3 Library, Easton

Writing workshop: Tuesday 22 October 2019, St Paul’s Community Centre

Drop in sessions (daytime): Wednesday 30 October 2019, Waterstones

In Conversation… with Irenosen Okojie: Wednesday 30 October 2019, 7pm-9pm, Waterstones

Commissioned piece: Published on Words of Colour’s website, November 2019

About Irenosen Okojie

Irenosen Okojie is a Nigerian British writer. Her debut novel Butterfly Fish won the Betty Trask Award in 2016 and was shortlisted for an Edinburgh International First Book Award. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, the Observer, the Guardian, the BBC and the Huffington Post amongst other publications. Her short story collection Speak Gigantular, published by Jacaranda Books, was shortlisted for the Edgehill Short Story Prize, the Jhalak Prize, the Saboteur Awards and nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award. She was recently inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature as one of the Forty Under Forty initiative.

About Nudibranch

Guardian ‘Must Read Books of 2019’

African Book Addict ‘Most Anticipated Books 2019’ 

Nudibranch is Irenosen Okojie’s second short story collection, to be published by Dialogue Books in November 2019. In this collection of short stories, offbeat characters are caught up in extraordinary situations that test the boundaries of reality: A love-hungry goddess of the sea arrives on an island inhabited by eunuchs; A girl from Martinique moonlights as a Grace Jones impersonator; Dimension-hopping monks sworn to silence must face a bloody reckoning; And a homeless man goes right back, to the very beginning, through a gap in time. Nudibranch is a dark and seductive foray into the surreal.

Image credit: David Kwaw Mensah