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  • Writer's pictureHinton Magazine

Bernardine Evaristo, Yomi Sode and Julianknxx to highlight Black-led Tottenham Literature Festival

  • The festival that centres around Black writers and Black narratives is now in its third year

  • Many events are free or low cost, with some taking place online as well

  • The theme of this years’ events is revolutionary love

Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo, British-Nigerian poet and playwright Yomi Sode, the bright young talents behind the A Quick Ting On series, and artist, poet and filmmaker Julianknxx are just some of the writers and thinkers coming to the Bernie Grant Arts Centre, this winter as part of the Tottenham Literature Festival. Now in its third year, TLF has fast become the UK’s leading literature festival that centres Black writers and Black narratives. The theme of this year’s festival, which consists of both in-person and online events, is ‘revolutionary love’ - love of self, love of community and romantic love - and how, when it comes to Black communities, the very act of loving one another and ourselves can be radical, empowering and revolutionary.

Joining Evaristo – who will be discussing her new memoir, Manifesto and newly curated Black Britain Writing Back series with Penguin – is an array of literary and artistic talent from around the corner and around the world. The festival kicks off with Malika’s Poetry Kitchen, a writers’ collective founded by spoken word pioneer Malika Booker in Brixton in 2001, followed by a DJ set evening as award winning poet Yomi Sode interviews a special guest on books that inspire, while poets from Tottenham’s own ‘Village101’ collective open Saturday talks.

As part of the digital programme, Ghanaian feminist writer and activist Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah will be talking about her stunning debut book, The Sex Lives of African Women, while Jessica Horn and Laurence Sessou’s beautiful exhibition Temple of Her Skin explores the stories and aesthetics around African women’s tattoo and scarification journeys. And there's an unmissable retelling of Refilwe – a Southern African reimagining of the story of Rapunzel – by Zukiswa Wanner, performed by local comedienne and poet, Sheba Montserrat.

Hannah-Azieb Pool, Artistic Director and CEO of Bernie Grant Arts Centre, and founder of the Tottenham Literature Festival, said: “We are incredibly proud to welcome audiences and artists back for the third Tottenham Literature Festival and we have a dazzling line up that reflects the richness of Black storytelling. From the brilliant Booker prize-winning Bernardine Evaristo on her own personal Manifesto, to creative speed writing workshops, to a riotous retelling of children’s classic Rapunzel, we’ve got something for everyone.

“The theme of revolutionary love is a call to action after the last 18 months. I wanted us to gather around a theme that was inspiring and uplifting, yet still rooted in politics and community. Revolutionary love has the power to heal - and what better way to start the process than by hearing from some of our most talented Black authors?”

Building on previous years’ successes, Tottenham Literature Festival has evening talks throughout the week, a schools day for over 100 children, a digital programme and a jam packed all day programme on Saturday 4th December which audiences can access with an affordable Day Pass. On Festival Saturday there’s also plenty of free content, including Black Book fair.

Smokey Okey will be bringing delicious food to Bernie’s Cafe/Bar bursting with flavours and tastes from Africa and the Caribbean, combining low-and-slow cooking techniques from America, to create what we call African Soul Food. There will be something sumptuous for everyone throughout the festival.

Hannah-Azieb Pool said: “With a hybrid programme of in-person and digital events in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s TLF is accessible and innovative. Lots of events are free, while the Saturday Day Pass is both brilliant and a bargain because we want all audiences, whatever their personal circumstances, to experience the joy and revolutionary love of the Tottenham Literature Festival.’

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