Black British Book Festival returns to celebrate inclusivity in literature
Published on: 22 October 2023
BookTrust attended several of the Black British Book Festival’s incredible line-up of pop-up events to showcase the work of Black British authors in the heart of communities across the UK
L-R - Jasmine Richards (Storymix), Indigo Williams, Selina Brown (Black British Book Festival)
The 2023 edition of Black British Book Festival takes place from October 27-28, following a UK-wide tour of pop-up events, which BookTrust team members attended in support of the festival’s mission to make literature more inclusive and accessible for more people.
The Black British Book Festival seeks to break down barriers for Black British writers, champion emerging talent, and provide an influential platform for their voices.
Selina Brown, CEO and founder of the festival, says: “We aim to democratise literature by making it accessible to all and celebrating the richness of Black British culture. We believe in fostering diversity, inclusivity, and engagement, ensuring that literature is accessible to individuals who may not have had previous opportunities to engage with books.”
For the 2023 edition of the Black British Festival, pop-up author events have been taking place across Britain to bring literary events into the heart of communities.
“Through our Book Tour initiative, we are taking the joy of reading to historically underserved communities across the UK,” says Brown.“We have seen a tremendous response from these communities, with enthusiastic engagement and a newfound love for reading.”
Marva Carty, who is part of the BookTrust Represents community of children’s authors and illustrators of colour, hosted an event at Wolverhampton Art Gallery. “The Black British Book Festival is really important to black authors,” she says. “It gives us an opportunity to showcase our work in a supportive environment. I’m grateful to BookTrust Represents for giving me the chance to collaborate with the Black British Book Festival. It introduced me to new audiences, increased my exposure and developed my network in other parts of the country.”
Audience at the Black British Book Festival
Satpal Badhan, Partnerships Manager for BookTrust in Central England, attended another festival event in Wolverhampton featuring author Maria Motunrayo Adebisi, who gave attendees advice on creating their own literary characters with super powers.
He says: “BookTrust wants to help raise awareness of events like this one, and the importance of giving children access to a wide variety of books, which is a powerful way to honour distinct experiences, cultures and identities.
Enabling children to access a diverse range of people in literature – some of whose lives may differ greatly from their own – enables a better understanding of different cultures.”
Nick Bragger, Partnerships Manager for BookTrust in the South, attended a pop-up event in Croydon Central Library featuring talks and Q&A sessions with author Atinuke, illustrator Kingsley Nebechi and author Sabine Adeyinka. “It’s really important for BookTrust to support events like this,” he says. “It aligns with our aim to promote a love of reading and encourage families on their reading journey. This festival is extra special for children in Croydon who can see authors of colour speak in person - people who reflect their own life experiences - encouraging them in their reading and writing, and possibly fostering a new generation of writers.”
On October 27th and 28th, the Black British Book Festival will take place at London’s Southbank Centre, offering a schedule of workshops, masterclasses and inspiring author talks and panels hosted by Black British authors – for children and adults alike.
“The 2023 edition of the Black British Book Festival promises to be the most spectacular yet,” says Brown. “We have partnered with the esteemed Southbank Centre in London, showcasing the growing prominence of our festival. With renowned authors, influencers, and journalists, along with star power from musicians like Leigh-Anne Pinnock, this year's festival will offer an extraordinary showcase of the UK's best Black authors and cultural icons.”