I'm curating a panel discussion at Housmans: I don't see race - An informal discussion around skin colour politics, (in)visibility and the intersection between race and gender. Included is a brief reading from The Good Immigrant. Details HERE.
Some notes for the (sold out) event at Housmans Radical Bookshop this evening.
Thank you for being in the room. This is the second in a series of The Good Immigrant spin-off events I’m curating, the inspiration being that the book, with 21 writers of colour sharing their experiences, not all of whom are still living in the UK, was just the start of...something.
How do we get to know more about “immigrants”? Who are we talking about? Frankly, why bother?
I reckon that not seeing people as ‘people like you’ makes violence against them so much easier. (Apply this to any marginalised folk.)
This metaphor is simplistic but. Imagine being born into a car. The make, model, and colour is out of your control. You have to drive it 24/7 for the rest of your life.
Tonight is my response to Yellow, the chapter I wrote in The Good Immigrant. I invited some key people to chat:
Elizabeth Chan is an incredible actor. I’m an actor too. We get to try on characters, sure, but we don’t get to take off our skin. People make assumptions based on what we look and sound like. Liz grew up in Bradford. Her 2012 piece in The Guardian about how Chinese people are laughed at, put down, and made invisible is still horribly relevant. @thisislizchan
Annie Chen is an inspiring Asian-American and New Yorker who recently moved to UK. Annie’s observations on UK vs. US racism really struck me. Covert bias is incredibly destabilising and stressful. I cried and swore, a lot – out of recognition and relief - the first time I met Annie.
Jennifer Lim is an actor, filmmaker, founding member of British East Asian Artists. Though example, Jen’s taught me important lessons about standing up for my rights, getting angry, being gracious, and not resenting other east asians in an industry where opportunities to be seen are scarce. Jen also co-founded of Moongate Productions - a creative hub developing projects that raise up East Asians whilst challenging stereotypes. @xanadujenn
“How Do I Go About Decolonising My Lifelong Anglicisation Without Erasing Myself Entirely?” – Jules Orcullo’s question at a Devoted & Disgruntled event hit me hard: “I was prompted to ask this question by a long overdue realisation that so much of my core being and imagination is white. White media, white education, white fairy stories, white ways of communicating, white beliefs.” Jules is a Filipina-Australian artist and theatre-maker interested in real-time togetherness, our relationships with our bodies, and crossed cultural lines. She’s touring phroot sahlad, an Aussie comedy about female sexual dysfunction and cross-cultural experience. @JulesOrcullo
“Oh Shit! We’re Not White!” Dr Anna Sulan Masing and I talk and laugh about heaps, not least about sex. We’re both Malaysian but she’s from the ‘jungle jungle’. Anna began writing to tell stories through theatre. This grew into freelance journalism, consultancy, and a doctorate looking at how identity changes when space and location changes. Anna's father is Iban, a tribe from Malaysian Borneo and her mother is a New Zealander of Scottish decent. @annasulan
Cressida Kocienski makes films and is doing a Phd in Architecture which looks at decolonising filmmaking practice. I met her in cyberspace while I was on Fogo Island dressed as a mouse and investigating shared space and communication, while she was in Toronto. What is an ally? What am I asking for? The support Cressida generously and fiercely gives was (and still is) a little bit beyond my imagination.
Not present and cruelly thwarting my plan to include non-Chinese non-“east asian” women on the panel, the lovely Julia Thanh. Julia had to bow out of this evening because she’s busy launching Vietnamese Londoners, an exhibition opening at Oxford House, Bethnal Green, this Friday.
A curated evening of readings and performances around food. SOLD OUT.
I'm very pleased to be reading new work alongside these people:
Bee Wilson – acclaimed food writer, historian and author
Kit de Waal – author of debut novel My Name is Leon, a Times and international best seller, shortlisted for the Costa First Book Award
Helena Lee – Features Editor at Harper’s Bazaar
Iskandar Sharazuddin – playwright and winner of the Soho Young Writers Award
Jen Calleja – writer, poet, punk band member and translator in residence at The British Library, reading her translation of an unpublished German text
Thom Eagle – writer, sketcher, pickler and chef
Bethany Rutter – writer, podcaster and marketing manager at a plus size fashion brand
Dawn Foster – journalist and author of Lean Out published by Repeater
Irwin Sparkes – actor, songwriter and lead singer of the band The Hoosiers
Plus cocktails from Our/London, cheese & charcuterie, iced buns from Puns & Buns, and books by Review Books. Food and a welcome drink are included in the ticket price.
PSYCHED to be part of Salena Godden's line up for Byline Festival, the first festival to celebrate independent journalism and free speech! It features a range of acts and speakers from a variety of artforms and disciplines. Salena is Poet Laureate of the Festival, which takes place in West Sussex from 2-4 June.
The LIVEwire Salon will showcase poetry's rebels and renegades. YASSSSS! Use discount code SGBYFEST to book. Details HERE.
Based on my work around sex positivity and intersectional feminism, I will be one of the judges at Smut Slam, an evening of real life sex storytelling. Details HERE.
"You know what a poetry slam is, and maybe you know about story slams, too. Now it’s time for London's first-ever SMUT SLAM, a fast-paced storytelling open mic based on real life, real lust, real sex. The Smut Slam features real-life, first-person sex stories, guest stories from our panel of celebrity judges, and also THE FUCKBUCKET, a convenient and funnily named receptacle for all your anonymous questions and confessions."
A performance of new writing piece, Loophole, at Tristan Bates Theatre. Strong language. Details here.
The Loophole by Alice Malin at the FIRST festival
What would happen if one woman brought down the stock market?
Maria works in a stockbrokers' firm. She cleans the gents' toilets.
'I think things have got a bit out of hand.'
A surreal parable about the madness of the markets.
I was invited to curate a The Good Immigrant spin-off event for the gorgeous new Tara Theatre building. Guests include The Good Immigrant contributors Coco Khan and Varaidzo, and short responses from Jules Orcullo, Vik Sivalingam, and Krystian Godlewski.
Details and booking information HERE.
RA Lates invite you to experience the futuristic idealism of 1920s Soviet Russia.
Following our performance at Pushkin House, I am proud to be performing a new version of The Blue Blouse and excerpts of Victory Over the Sun with the legendary, cult (!), lovely, company, The New Factory of the Eccentric Actor at the Royal Academy.
We will be performing at 7.30pm and again at 9.30pm. The whole day will be filled with related events curated by the RA. Details HERE.
I will be sharing new poetic writing at Housmans with Serena Braida, Livia Franchini, Gloria Sanders and flautist Rehana Browne.
We will be sharing mostly new work around ideas of collaboration, communication/community, vulnerability, arts politics, and identity. The first half will show solo work and the second, collaborations.
Venue: Housmans, Kings Cross
I am VERY pleased about this. Thank you to Sian Norris, Founder and Director of Bristol Women's Literature Festival and resident writer at Spike Island, for inviting me to share some of my work in Bristol. The series showcases established and emerging talent and previous speakers include Bidisha, Eley Williams, Amy Key, Tania Hershmann, Holly Corfield-Carr and Ben Gwalchmai.
Always super pleased to perform at anything produced by Simpson and Varjack, makers of The Anti-Slam. WORST. DATE. EVER at Camden People's Theatre is a night of performances and silly games for people of all relationship statuses, sexualities and genders. Proud to be on stage with a fantastic line up of comedians, theatre makers, spoken word and performance artists.
Tickets and more info HERE.
I am extremely pleased to be performing at a rehearsed reading of Borderland, co-written by Prasanna Puwarnarajah and Stephanie Street. There will be nightly readings through the week but I will be on on Sunday.
Double bill, Borderland//Calais, is a blunt telling of the truths of forced relocation.
Through verbatim responses and the Refugee Rights Data Project this is an alarming analysis of the last days of the Calais Refugee Camp.
Wow! I'm on a roll! After judging the Oxford Anti-Slam recently, I will now be being judgemental at the London Anti-Valentine special! Come along!
Valentine’s Day is traditionally a time for heartfelt sentiment and loving feelings – best expressed through beautiful poetry. The Anti-Slam turns that on its head for an Anti-Valentine’s Day slam! In a normal poetry slam competition, the highest scoring poet wins. At The Anti-Slam, the worst poet wins! We’ve challenged London’s top poets to be hilariously terrible. Laugh-out-loud embarrassing. Entertainingly cringe worthy. Poetry so bad it transcends quality, becoming genius – all given an Anti-Valentine’s twist.
I'm BACK!!! But this time to JUDGE! After winning the 2016 Oxford Anti-Slam with terrific terribleness, and being the third best/most entertaining in the country at destroying poetry at UK Final, I will be sharing the stage with Ms Samantha Mann and being horribly lovely to the contestants. Come along for the brilliantly crafted fun.
I'm very pleased to be sharing new work and old at this amazingly lovely annual get together. I'll be sharing the stage with Ross Sutherland and Francesca Beard! Thank you to Tim Wells for the invitation.
An annual poetic celebration at London's leading poetry pub. Doors open at 2pm and our bill of fare is -
3pm – Sarah Fletcher, Seraphima Kennedy, Flora de Falbe, Laurie Bolger
4pm – Francesca Beard, Kirsty Capes, Dominique Dunne,
5pm – Bob Hill, Kim West, Melissa Lee-Houghton
6pm – Quiz
7pm – Bridget Minamore, The Bro’s Grim, Emily Harrison
8pm – Ross Sutherland, Vera Chok, Helen Mort
Full details here.
I am extremely chuffed to be doing a comedy spoken word spot at the magnificent Salena's album launch. Book 50% of the proceeds from ticket sales and all the raffle will be donated to the Refugee Community Kitchen, in order to aid their vital work in the Calais and Dunkirk refugee camps.
Nymphs & Thugs presents...
- live spoken word from Salena Godden, Iona Lee poetry and Matt Abbott Poet
- live music from The Bundy Brothers and Gemma Rogers
- guest speakers from 'The Good Immigrant'
- guest DJ sets
- #LIVEwire awards ceremony
- #LIVEwire merchandise
- raffle for Refugee Community Kitchen
This is a celebration; a coming together, a poetry party, a meeting of minds and a chance to dance and share some love and positivity.
"A spoken word album that truly is electric." 5* The i Paper
"Everybody needs to hear #LIVEwire." PROWL HOUSE
"Godden is at the vanguard of this particular publishing moment." The Empathy Library
"Go see this girl - she's an angel in boxing gloves." Mike Garry - Poet
Join the A2BFour at Senate House London for a dazzling night as we unite our research as black and minority ethnic historians with our love of cinema to bring you 'Archive to Blockbuster'! We will pitch ideas for films, based on our original academic research, to a panel of industry experts and a public audience. Our pitches showcase the histories of black Britain, Guyana, India and Uganda and directly address the concerns of #OscarsSoWhite as we promote roles for black and minority ethnic professionals both in front and behind the camera.
Our panel, chaired by BBC presenter Ritula Shah consists of actor and writer Vera Chok, screenwriter and author Farrukh Dhondy, academic Dr Althea Legal-Miller and screenwriter and historian Mike Phillips
This event is part of the University of London's hub programme, 'Ministry of hope and fear', for the Being Human festival.