Celebration of James Baldwin's Centenary

British Library, London.

WritersMosaic presents: a Celebration of James Baldwin’s Centenary

Ticket type Cost (face value)? Quantity
GENERAL ADMISSION £10.00 (£10.00) Fully booked
MEMBER £5.00 (£5.00) Fully booked
CONCESSION £5.00 (£5.00) Fully booked
*Concession includes under 26/student/unwaged.
DISABLED £5.00 (£5.00) Fully booked
DISABLED CARER £0.00 (£0.00) Fully booked
ONLINE £6.50 (£6.50)
ONLINE - MEMBER £3.25 (£3.25)

More information about Celebration of James Baldwin's Centenary tickets

Tuesday 27 February 2024 19:00 – 20:30 Pigott Theatre and online 

 With Vanessa Kisuule, Mendez, and Chitra Ramaswamy   

This event will take place in the British Library. All sessions will be simultaneously live streamed on the British Library platform. Tickets may be booked either to attend in person, or to watch on our platform (online) either live or within 48 hours on catch up. Viewing links for the online version will be sent out shortly before the event. 

To be a black person in America, James Baldwin once said, was to be “in a state of rage almost all of the time.” Decades after his death, that sentiment, echoed in many countries in the West, still resonates. In collaboration with the Eccles Centre at the British Library, WritersMosaic presents an evening of writers and music celebrating James Baldwin’s centenary. Baldwin’s electrifying combination of emotional realism and moral strength – grappling with the racism, homophobia and brutality in a time of protest in the United States – still inspires marginalised voices everywhere.   

WritersMosaic Director Colin Grant is joined by the writers Vanessa Kisuule, Mendez and Chitra Ramaswamy to reflect on Baldwin’s prescience, and how his writing was informed by love, political activism, religion and the Blues. Missohio will create a short film journeying around him, and the British Library theatre will be suffused with live music performed by Angeline Morrison. 

Vanessa Kisuule is a writer and performer based in Bristol. She has won more than ten slam titles including the Roundhouse Slam 2014, Hammer and Tongue National Slam 2014 and the Nuyorican Poetry Slam. Her poem on the historic toppling of Edward Colston’s statue, ‘Hollow’, went viral in the summer of 2020. She has two poetry collections published by Burning Eye Books and her work was highly commended in the Forward Poetry Prize Anthology 2019. She was the Bristol City Poet for 2018-2020 and is currently working on her debut novel. 

Mendez is a London-based Jamaican-British author, screenwriter and critic. Their first novel, Rainbow Milk was named one of the Observer's Top Ten Best Debuts for 2020. It was shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize, the Jhalak Prize, the Polari Prize, in the Fiction Debut category of the British Book Awards, and for the LAMBDA Literary Award in Gay Fiction. Mendez is currently adapting the novel for a TV series. Mendez is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books and has also written for British Vogue, The Face, Attitude, Esquire, Times Literary Supplement, Poetry Foundation, the Guardian and the Brixton Review of Books. They are working on their second novel.

Chitra Ramaswamy is a journalist and author from London. Her latest book, Homelands: The History of a Friendship, (Canongate) explores her friendship with a 99-year-old German Jewish refugee. It won the Saltire Non-Fiction Book of the Year. Her first book, Expecting: The Inner Life of Pregnancy (Saraband 2016) won the Saltire First Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the Polari Prize. She writes for The Guardian and The Times Scotland, and broadcasts for BBC radio.  

Angeline Morrison
‘Morrison's courage in reconstructing folk repertoire is truly revolutionary’ New Internationalist
Angeline Morrison is a folk singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose 2022 album The Sorrow Songs: Folk Songs of Black British Experience was No 1 Folk Album of the year in The Guardian. The album uses history and imagination to tell stories of UK Black ancestors in the sonic style of traditional folk music. Angeline explores traditional song with a deep reverence and handmade sonic aesthetic. Making her TV debut on Later.. with Jools Holland, Angeline has recently appeared at the London Jazz Festival, Glastonbury and Brighton Festival. 

Burt Caesar is an actor and director working extensively across theatre, television and film, and a broadcaster for BBC Radio 4. He is a former Associate Director at the Royal Court Theatre and an Artistic Adviser at RADA. Burt played the role of Meridian in  the British premiere of Baldwin’s Civil Rights era tragedy, Blues for Mr Charlie (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield) and curated the programme The Price of Baldwin’s Ticket at the BFI. Burt has contributed to previous SpeakySpokey salons including performances of Derek Walcott’s epic poem ‘The Schooner ‘Flight’.

WritersMosaic is a division of the Royal Literary Fund. 

Please arrive no later than 15 minutes before the start time of this event.  

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