Born in Nigeria in 1984, Inua Ellams is an internationally touring poet, playwright, performer, graphic artist & designer. He is an ambassador for Ministry of Stories and has published four books of poetry: Candy Coated Unicorns and Converse All Stars, Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales, The Wire-Headed Heathen and #Afterhours. His first play The 14th Tale was awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival and his fourth Barber Shop Chronicles sold out its run at England’s National Theatre. He is currently touring An Evening With An Immigrant and working on The Half God of Rainfall – a new play in verse. In graphic art & design, online and in print, he tries to mix the old with the new, juxtaposing texture and pigment with flat shades of colour and vector images. He lives and works from London, where he founded the Midnight Run, a nocturnal urban excursion. He was elected an RSL Fellow in 2018 as part of the 40 Under 40 initiative.
Mixed Race Superman
Described as a personal essay on Barrack Obama, Keanu Reeves and the mixed-race experience in our increasingly divided world, this easy written by the viscerally intelligent poet, Will Harris explores race and heroism. Fans of 'The Good Immigrant' and 'Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’ will love furthering the conversation about the politics of race in contemporary England and the world beyond.
Full disclosure, I met Kamila Shamsie in Austria a few years ago and I have grown to become a friend and fan. Home Fire humbled me. She took Sophocles' Antigone and carved a story of such relevance, characters so close and alive, so breathing, so poignant, that I often see them walking the streets of London, I blink and they are gone, I blink and they are there again. With the appointment of Sajid Javid as Home Secretary, her story feels all the more real.
A Thinking Person’s Guide to Islam
H.R.H Prince Ghazi Bin Muhammad
Simply, this is the most encyclopedic, lyrical, beautiful and detailed book of I read that engages head on with the poetry, power, history, ritual and politics of Islam. Its in deeply analytical, detailed and dense, yet clear and digestible. It is haltingly precise and achingly beautiful. I read it for research once, I will read it again for its enchantment again. With state sanctioned Islamophobia dominating mainstream headlines, this comes highly recommended.
The Binti Trilogy
The film Black Panther recently thrust afrofuturism into the public realm and was mentioned in the breath as musicians like Sun Ra and Janelle Monáe. Whereas Afro Futurism places the African Diaspora in-particular centre stage, what of those in the content? Enter Nnedi Okafor, who describes her works, accurately, as African Futurism. The gaze, here, begins and stays on characters who exist in an African cultural context and fictional world in built around this sense of belonging. The Binti Trilogy is engaging, moving and fascinating story of a young girl’s search for belonging in a chaotic universe. One to read, dissect and discuss.
Marvel and DC have made enormous strides in taking the nerdy fascination with colour metahumans in spandex, out of the fringes of literary societies and into mainstream entertainment. But the magic of communicating story and plot through static images whence it began, is a science worth studying and Scott McCloud explains all that in this magnificent book on the history and internal workings of comics. I think this should be read WITH a comic… Maus or Marvel's Civil War saga.