Bare Lit
Bare Lit 2016 Writers

For our readers in the UK, info, via press release, on a brand new literary festival happening this weekend that you might want to check out...

From February 26-28th, a new festival is set to change the UK literary landscape: Bare Lit, the country's first literature festival devoted wholly to BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) authors.

Organised by Media Diversified, Bare Lit seeks to celebrate the work and achievements of BAME literary voices in the UK.

Bare Lit's racially and globally conscious ethos is in part a reaction to the overwhelmingly homogenous view of contemporary writing presented by UK literary festivals. In 2014, only 4% of the 2000­ plus authors featured at the UK's three largest literary festivals came from BAME backgrounds; the other 96% were white. The creation of Bare Lit is a step toward empowering voices that are so often absent in the literary mainstream.

As one of the organizers of Bare Lit Festival, Mend Mariwany states, “We can focus on making mainstream festivals more 'diverse' or we can create something magical of our own.”

Festival guests have spoken out emphasising the importance of a festival that celebrates authors of colour. “It's about stories coming from traditions, dynamics and history which the gatekeepers ignore”, says novelist Leila Aboulela.

The two ­day festival, which takes place in London, offers a lineup of established and new international authors. Events focus on addressing the question of what it means to be a writer of color in the 21 st century, with performances, panels and conversations such as the signature events, “Second ­Generation Poets in Exile”, “What Does Liberation in Literature Look Like?” ​and “Rewriting Pasts & Futures."

Real­time social media coverage of all events will be provided to widen access to the discussions.

SFF and historical fantasy author Zen Cho ​concurs: “As a writer who's neither white nor British I'm used to sticking out at conventions and publishing events. The stories that fill our heads should reflect the richness and diversity of the world around us. I'm excited to be part of a festival that's trying to encourage that.”

Likewise, memoirist, essayist and fiction author Haris Durrani​says, “In this increasingly volatile sociopolitical climate, we need stories not only written about men and women of color, but most importantly by men and women of color. Bare Lit is one of the few venues out there that is both a platform for readers to see the wonderful work being done by writers of colour and a support structure for those writers to share their stories. This is not merely important work ­­ it's necessary."

Bare Lit is the latest of many projects undertaken by Media Diversified to promote the voices of people of color. The non­profit advocacy organisation's previous projects include setting up an independent online publishing platform for BAME writers; hosting the live #AllBlackEverything day of discussions and workshops on Black British experiences; and creating the groundbreaking Experts Directory, which enables media outlets to immediately access a comprehensive database of BAME experts from a wide range of professional fields.

For more on Bare Lit, including all the writers in this year's lineup, visit http://barelitfestival.com/whos-coming/.

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