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The James Baldwin Book Club

The James Baldwin Book Club

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A century ago, James Baldwin was born, and the Brighton Book Festival is, of course, commemorating the enduring influence of this literary giant. This year, our highly anticipated men's event takes on a new dimension. We're assembling a group of authors to reflect on the profound impact of James's writing, sharing their experiences of the joy, tears, and profound influence his work has brought into their lives. Join us for an enriching discussion as we celebrate the enduring legacy of James Baldwin.

Inua Ellams is writer and curator. He is a cross disciplinary artist, an internationally touring performer, a poet, playwright, screenwriter, graphic artist & designer. His published books of poetry include Candy Coated Unicorns and Converse All Stars, Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales, The Wire-Headed Heathen, #Afterhours, and The Actual. His first play The 14th Tale was awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival. His plays include Barber Shop Chronicles, Three Sister and The Half-God of Rainfall. He is currently touring Search Party, An Evening With An Immigrant and working on several commissions across stage and screen.

Mendez is a London-based Jamaican-British writer. They were born in 1982 in the Black Country, a historically industrial region in the English West Midlands. Raised within the Jehovah's Witness faith, Mendez left the organisation while still a teenager.​
Upon receiving a manuscript of autobiographical fragments, Dialogue Books publisher Sharmaine Lovegrove  challenged Mendez to find the fiction in their story, and the resulting novel, RAINBOW MILK, was published to rave reviews during the 2020 lockdown. RAINBOW MILK was named one of the Observer's Top Ten Best Debuts for 2020.  Mendez is currently adapting the novel for a TV series.

JJ Bola is a Writer, Poet, and Educator, born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, and raised in London. His debut novel, No Place to Call Home, was published in 2017 with OWN IT! His second novel, The Selfless Act of Breathing, was published in 2021 in the U.K.  It has also been translated into Brazilian-Portuguese and German. The Selfless Act of Breathing has also been acquired for film adaption. He is also an ambassador for the United Nations High Council for Refugees. And has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck University. JJ also works as a Mental Health Social Worker, in a community mental health team.

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