Power, Protest & Poetry: The Bristol Edition

Bristol Libraries and Words of Colour present Power, Protest & Poetry – a series of free, online literary events as part of BBC Arts’ Novels That Shaped Our World festival.

Bristol Libraries are partnering with creative development agency Words of Colour and commissioned artist Muneera Pilgrim to deliver a series of online literary events on the theme Politics, Power & Protest across February, March and April 2021, as part of the Novels That Shaped Our World Festival. The online events include three creative writing workshops, a book prize giveaway, and a panel event with artist Muneera Pilgrim and special guests.

The Novels That Shaped Our World is a list of 100 genre-busting novels chosen by a panel of leading writers, curators and critics. The novels were selected for their impact on the panellists’ lives and the resulting list comprises 100 English language novels from the last 300 years, ranging from children’s classics to popular page turners. Organised into 12 themes, the novels reflect the ways books have helped shape and influence our thinking.

Power, Protest & Poetry begins on Thursday 25th February 2021 with the first of three creative writing workshops led by poet and educator Muneera Pilgrim. The workshops will examine the city of Bristol through the lens of Politics, Power & Protest, drawing on themes from some of the most disruptive novels written in the English Language. All three workshops are free to attend and take place online, 7pm – 8.30pm, on Thursday 25th February, Thursday 11th March and Thursday 25th March 2021. The content of the workshops is as follows:

Workshop 1, Thursday 25th February 2021:

In this session, we will take a look at our individual lives and what events and experiences have affected us and contributed to shaping our outlook, perspective and political thought.

Workshop 2, Thursday 11th March 2021:

In this session, we will be doing a deeper dive into the books on the Novels That Shaped Our World list, and looking at poems that deal with the themes of power and protest.

Workshop 3, Thursday 25th March 2021:

In this session, we will be thinking about the things that have been left unsaid in the city. The stories that are rarely told or not given enough light – if Bristol could speak, what would it say?

Participants who attend the workshops will be entered into a prize draw to win all 10 books in the Politics, Power & Protest theme, listed below. The winner will be announced at the concluding event on Thursday 8th April 2021, where a panel of special guests will discuss politics, power and protest today.

The 10 novels in the Politics, Power & Protest theme are:

A Thousand Splendid Suns– Khaled Hosseini


Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Home Fire – Kamila Shamsie

Lord of the Flies – William Golding

Noughts & Crosses – Malorie Blackman

Strumpet City – James Plunkett


The Color Purple – Alice Walker

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Unless – Carol Shields

V for Vendetta – Alan Moore

All events in the Power, Protest & Poetry series are free to attend and require a minimum participant age of 18 years old. The workshops are open to everyone living in Bristol, but Bristol Libraries and Words of Colour particularly encourage attendance from people living in Bristol who are from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME) as these voices are underrepresented and under-heard in discussions of politics and power in the UK today.

Tickets for Power, Protest & Poetry can be booked via Bristol Libraries’ Eventbrite here.

Deputy Mayor Councillor Asher Craig, cabinet member with responsibility for libraries, said: “We are really pleased to be partnering with Words of Colour and Muneera Pilgrim to explore these important issues. We all need to be prepared to challenge injustice and inequality, whenever we come across it, and I hope that these workshops will give people the tools to be able to do that more easily. I would encourage everyone to sign up to one of these creative writing workshops on Power, Protest & Poetry, take a look at the reading list and try and look at things from a different perspective.”

Muneera Pilgrim, commissioned artist for Power, Protest & Poetry, says: “So much is said about Bristol, being a centre of arts, one of the most moved to cities in the country and a city of diversity, yet in the same breath Bristol is also one of the most segregated core cities in the country and is known for riots, uprisings and acts of protest. It can be difficult to hold these poles as true, but the complications of Bristol make it the perfect setting and the perfect lens to engage with the themes of The Novels That Shaped Our World’s ‘Politics, Power & Protest’ list. I am excited to be partnering with Words of Colour, who have been contributing to the cultivation of a more representational literary scene for years, and to be partnering with the participants and walk through the journey of telling our stories, of our Bristol.”

Heather Marks, Creative Producer at Words of Colour, says: “I am so glad to be a part of this programme with Bristol Libraries and Muneera Pilgrim. Libraries hold a special place in my heart and to be working with such a talented artist as Muneera is fantastic. With the fall of Colston’s statue, Bristol has made a name for itself once again in the annals of history, and I look forward to the creative investigations of Muneera and her workshop attendees, as they explore the politics and protests that are a part of them and this city.”

The Power, Protest & Poetry programme is part of a larger programme of library and community activity spearheaded by Libraries Connected and made possible by Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants funding.

To book a place on the Power, Protest & Poetry events, click the links below.

Thur 25th Feb 2021 | Power, Protest & Poetry: Identifying our politics

Thur 11th Mar 2021 | Power, Protest & Poetry: Power and protest in prose and poems

Thur 25th Mar 2021 | Power, Protest & Poetry: Writing a riot

Thur 8th Apr 2021 | Power, Protest & Poetry: The Bristol Edition

About Libraries Connected and BBC Novels that Shaped Our World

Power, Protest & Poetry is part of an exciting programme of library activities, events and partnerships designed to celebrate the novel and promote the joy of reading, and was launched in Winter 2019 (and since extended due to COVID) as part of the BBC Arts’ Novels That Shaped Our World festival.

Led by Libraries Connected and funded by a grant from Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants programme, with additional support from BBC Arts, the multi-platform engagement collaboration marks 300 years since the birth of the English language novel.

For further background information, please see: https://www.librariesconnected.org.uk/page/bbc-novels-shaped-our-

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