Global writing talent heads to Bristol for major literature festival

June 14, 2013

Businesses are being invited to support a festival that will bring an impressive array of international writing talent to Bristol and Bath later this month. 

A dozen of the best writers and performance poets from across the African Diaspora will take part in the Yardstick Festival from June 27 to 30.

Prestigious authors at the festival will include Lorna Goodison, Tanya Shirley, Geoffrey Philp (all Jamaican), Lemn Sissay (British Ethiopian), Warsan Shire (Somali), Mukoma Wa Ngugi (Kenyan), Nick Makoha (Ugandan), Leeto Thale (South African) and Jamal Safari (Congolese).

Also taking part will be Emman Egya Sule (Nigerian), Nii Ayikwei Parkes (Ghana), Dean Atta (British Jamaican) and Chioma Okereke (Nigerian)

 Lorna Goodison, Jamaica 50 Cultural Medal of Honour recipient and festival patron, will headline the opening event at Bath central Library on Thursday, June 27, followed on Saturday with Yardstick’s Griot Globetrotters group performance in Bristol on Friday, June 28 and Bath on Saturday, June 29. Lemn Sissay at Bristol Central Library will headline the final day on Sunday, June 30. The closing event is a VIP After-show late evening party with poet Dean Atta

The festival will also include a series of thought-provoking panel discussions. These will include Rural v Urban, chaired by Chino Odimba (Bristol, June 28), Lost in Translation, chaired by Dee Jarrett-Macauley (Bath, June 29), and Black Publishing chaired by Richard Jones (Bristol, June 30).

There will also be two writing workshops on Friday, June 28. Warsan Shire and Chioma Okereke will be at City Academy, Redfield. Geoffrey Philp and Jamala Safari will work with students at North Bristol Post-16 Centre, Cotham. The centre is providing up to 16 volunteers for the festival.

Bristol assistant mayor with responsibility for neighbourhoods, environment and council housing Gus Hoyt said: “This is a thrilling line-up of talent and I’m very pleased that Bristol will be co-hosting this event with Bath.

“It’s also a brilliant opportunity to celebrate and explore the work of authors, poets and performers from across the African diaspora.”

Director of The Royal African Society Richard Dowden said: “We are thrilled to be working with Yardstick Festival this year to bring some of the best African authors and literature to Bristol and London, and we look forward to an enduring partnership.”

Yardstick’s full programme and further information can be found at

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