Major writers including Malorie Blackman, Fred D’Aguiar, Sujata Bhatt, Bali Rai, Samuel Shimon, Dorothea Smartt and Thomas Glave participated. They were joined by Penguin publishers, literary agents, two young writers’ workshops, three book launches, information stalls, a young writers performance, and an evening Festival that included Slam Champion Stephanie Dogfoot, Malika Booker, Sujata Bhatt, J P Cooper, Pocket Soul, Young Identity and many more…
Panels: Writing For Children: How do we get more diversity into published children’s writing? Women poets and the stage: the reception and subtle exclusions that female spoken word artists face in public space that remains dominated by men. Queer writing: What space does the black queer writer occupy? Is there ‘room at the inn’ for black queer writers? How does ‘double discrimination’ inform and undermine our writing? Freedom and Resistance: ‘Tortured, the Truth, Remains And Will Free Itself. How has the relationship of writing and resistance changed in the 21st century?
The Racism Writing and Resistance Conference was run in association with and as an extension of the Black and Asian Writers Conference.
We have seen a decade of re-energised racism and orientalist representation in Britain, particularly in the demonising of Muslims and Islam. English language literature meanwhile, often stereotypes, ridicules, simplifies and homogenises in its representation of non-westernised/modernised characters: it can often seem as if writers, assumed to be ‘writing back’, have taken over the mantle of orientalist representation by the west. Certain ideologies become invisible in ‘literature’; their normalised values are assumed to be ‘universal,’ and ‘humanist;’ whilst literature and literary criticism that questions such assumptions overtly, or presents alternative ideologies is branded as ideological, polemical, essentialist.
What role can literature and literary criticism play in perpetuating and resisting racism, imperialism? What is the relationship between literature and government policies of multiculturalism, integration, assimilation, the war on terror? What is the relationship between political struggle and literature?
What is the politics of writing, representing and publishing in Britain? How does representation and ideology differ in English and vernacular literature? Bringing together South Asian, Arab, African/Afro-Caribbean diasporic writers, along with academics and activists, this conference seeks to explore some of these questions. Through conversations across these ‘professions’ that are increasingly seen as distinct and become ever more unintelligible to each other, we seek to revive connections between writing, activism and ideas.
To see more details on the Racism, Writing and Resistance conference click here.