In London over the weekend (February 26-28th), a new literary festival "set to change the UK literary landscape" (as the organizers put it) premiered. Called Bare Lit, it's been called the UK'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.
The two day festival offered a lineup of established and new international authors. Events focused 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."
Below you'll find the full videotaped recording of one of the festival's signature events, "(Re)writing Pasts & Futures," which takes audiences into a space of "unfettered imagination" as fantasy and fiction novelists Tendai Huchu, Zen Cho, Haris Durrani and Tosin Coker join genealogist Patrick Vernon OBE in an exclusive discussion on historical fantasy, speculative fiction, sci-fi and Afrofuturism. The conversation is about 90 minutes long.
For more on Bare Lit, including all the writers in this year's lineup, visit http://barelitfestival.com/whos-coming/.