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Untold Stories, Unheard Voices: On Diversity in Literature

Have you ever considered the stories that we don’t get to hear? This talk considers why published books don't fully reflect our diverse culture.

Have you ever considered the stories that we don’t get to hear? Join us for a stimulating provocation and debate with writer Kerry Hudson (Thirst),Alexandra Pringle, Group Editor-in-Chief of Bloomsbury, writer Nikesh Shulka (Meatspace), editor and Booker Judge, Ellah Wakatama Allfrey and from the floor, expert witness Danuta Kean, (author of the Spread the Word report ‘Writing the Future’); a wide-ranging discussion about diversity in literature that is bound to get you thinking.

Publishing is still largely a white middle-class industry, accessed through unpaid internships that many young people simply can’t afford to work. Publishers' tastes and the books they choose to publish shape our culture, yet still do not fully reflect it. What effect is all of this having on the stories that are getting through? What can we do about the voices and stories that are not being heard?

The National Conversation
Featuring a full provocation, panel discussion and audience Q&A, this wide-ranging debate is part of a National Conversation taking place around the country, led by Writers’ Centre Norwich. We have been discussing pertinent literary issues with Ali Smith, Will Self, Michael Rosen, Philip Gwyn Jones, Meg Rosoff, a host of national partners and now you. Have your say at the event or online here. @writerscentre #NatConv

Kerry Hudson was born in Aberdeen. Her first novel, Tony Hogan Bought Me An Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma was published in 2012 by Chatto & Windus and was the winner of the Scottish First Book Award. It was also shortlisted for the Southbank Sky Arts Literature Award, Guardian First Book Award, Green Carnation Prize, Author’s Club First Novel Prize and the Polari First Book Award. Kerry’s second novel, Thirst, was published in 2014 by Chatto & Windus and was shortlisted for the Green Carnation Prize. Her books are also available in the US (Penguin), France (Editions Phillipe Rey) and Italy (Minimum Fax). Kerry founded The WoMentoring Project and has written for Grazia, Guardian Review and YOU Magazine. She has led writing workshops for the National Academy of Writing, Arvon Foundation and Writers’ Centre Norwich.

Alexandra Pringle is Group Editor-in-Chief of Bloomsbury. She began her career in publishing as Editorial Assistant on the art magazine Art Monthly. She joined Virago Press in 1978 where she edited the Virago Modern Classics series. In 1984 she was made Editorial Director, later becoming part of the management team to steer Virago through their management buy-out from Cape, Chatto & Bodley Head. In 1990 she joined Hamish Hamilton as Editorial Director and four years later left publishing to become a literary agent. She joined Bloomsbury in 1999. Her list of authors includes Margaret Atwood, William Boyd, Richard Ford, Esther Freud, Elizabeth Gilbert, Khaled Hosseini, Jhumpa Lahiri, Colum McCann, Sheila Hancock, Ann Patchett, George Saunders, Lynn Barber, Patti Smith and Barbara Trapido. She is a Patron of Index on Censorship and has been awarded Honorary Degrees of Doctor of Letters from Anglia Ruskin University and Warwick University.

Nikesh Shukla is a writer of fiction and for television.His new novel is Meatspace, the Guardian saying of the book that 'like Douglas Coupland's Generation X, this novel captures a cultural moment.' His debut, Coconut Unlimited was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2010. Nikesh’s short stories have been featured in: Best British Short Stories 2013, Five Dials, The Moth Magazine, Pen Pusher, The Sunday Times, Book Slam, BBC Radio 4, First City Magazine and Teller Magazine. He has written essays (‘Generation Vexed: What the Riots Don't Tell Us About Our Nation's Youth’), a novella (The Time Machine, 2013), and for TV, including ‘Two Dosas’ with Himesh Patel, and his Channel 4 Comedy Lab ‘Kabadasses’. Shulka has written for the Guardian, Esquire and BBC 2 and hosts the The Subaltern podcast, the anti-panel discussion featuring conversations with writers about writing.

Ellah Wakatama Allfrey is an independent critic, broadcaster and editor. She is the editor ofAfrica39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara (Bloomsbury, 2014). The former Deputy Editor of Granta magazine, she sits on the boards of the English PEN and the Writers’ Centre Norwich as well as serving as Deputy Chair of the Council of the Caine Prize and patron of the Etisalat Prize for Literature. Her journalism has appeared in the Independent, the Guardian, the Telegraph and the Observer and she is a regular contributor to the book pages of NPR. A Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, Allfrey was awarded an OBE in 2011 for services to the publishing industry.

Ticket Details
Date: Thursday 9th July
Time: Drinks at 6pm and talk at 6.30pm
Place: Bloomsbury Publishing, 50 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DP
Tickets: £8 and £6 for students, including wine
Book tickets at www.bloomsburyinstitute.com
(Direct link: http://pages.bloomsbury.com/bloomsburyinstitute/nationalconversation )


Nikesh Shulka | talks
Ellah Allfrey | talks
Alexandra Pringle | talks
Kerry Hudson | talks


Date and Time:

9 July 2015 at 6:30 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Bloomsbury Institute
50 Bedford Square
020 7631 5717

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£8 / £6

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