12 episodes

Contemporary Black and Asian British writing is changing how we see and read literature in English around Britain today. This series brings some of the best writers working in and beyond the UK into conversation with readers to discuss reading, writing, and how literature shapes our perceptions of the world and our identities within it.
Included in this series you will find writers reading from and discussing their work, responses to this literature by a variety of readers including students, and a special poetic performance.
Contemporary Black and Asian British writing is changing how we see and read literature in English around Britain today. This series brings some of the best writers working in and beyond the UK into conversation with readers to discuss reading, writing, and how literature shapes our perceptions of the world and our identities within it.
Included in this series you will find writers reading from and discussing their work, responses to this literature by a variety of readers including students, and a special poetic performance.

Great Writers Inspire at Home Oxford University

    • Courses

Contemporary Black and Asian British writing is changing how we see and read literature in English around Britain today. This series brings some of the best writers working in and beyond the UK into conversation with readers to discuss reading, writing, and how literature shapes our perceptions of the world and our identities within it.
Included in this series you will find writers reading from and discussing their work, responses to this literature by a variety of readers including students, and a special poetic performance.
Contemporary Black and Asian British writing is changing how we see and read literature in English around Britain today. This series brings some of the best writers working in and beyond the UK into conversation with readers to discuss reading, writing, and how literature shapes our perceptions of the world and our identities within it.
Included in this series you will find writers reading from and discussing their work, responses to this literature by a variety of readers including students, and a special poetic performance.

    • video
    Reading Bass Culture

    Reading Bass Culture

    On 26 April 2018, Linton Kwesi Johnson read from a selection of his poetry and discussed with Professor Paul Gilroy the inter-generational and transatlantic relationships that had nurtured it. This special gathering of the Postcolonial Writing and Theory seminar explored the formation and development of Linton Kwesi Johnson’s poetry and the inter-generational and transatlantic relationships that nurtured it and shaped its political underpinnings. In particular, we considered the special significance of music in his development, the lyricism of ‘dub poetry’ and the distinctive approaches to recording and performance that he has developed in the forty years since the release of Dread Beat and Blood.
    Linton Kwesi Johnson is an acclaimed Jamaican-born British poet and performer. He coined and popularised the term dub poetry, a form of performance-based oral poetry inspired by reggae music. In 2002, he became only the second living poet published in the Penguin Modern Classics series. As well as having released several commercially successful and classic albums as a reggae artist, Johnson’s volumes of poetry include Voices of the Living and the Dead (1974), Dread Beat and Blood (1975), and Inglan’ is a Bitch (1980). Paul Gilroy is Professor of American and English Literature at King’s College London, a foundational figure in the field of Black Atlantic Studies, and a world-leading scholar in cultural studies and the music of the black diaspora.
    Dr Louisa Layne, the chair of the discussion, is a lecturer in English and Comparative literature at the University of Oslo.

    • 1 hr 35 min
    • video
    'Art and Attunement', by Professor Rita Felski, University of Virginia and Southern Denmark

    'Art and Attunement', by Professor Rita Felski, University of Virginia and Southern Denmark

    In this talk Rita Felski reported at new research on how we engage with works of art across a broad range (including cat videos) and considered the puzzling question of why we are drawn by some pieces of music, art and literature, and not by others. Why do we prefer, say, Matisse to Picasso, or Joni Mitchell over Bob Dylan, and how can those preferences change quite sharply in a life-time? Drawing on an essay by writer Zadie Smith, in which she describes falling in love with Joni Mitchell quite by surprise one afternoon at Tintern Abbey while longing for a sausage roll, Rita Felski explored a range of explanations that have been given for these responses. She came to settle on actor-network theory as offering the most satisfactory explanation taking account of the many factors that come together when we turn to a certain book or choose a piece of music: education, temporality, and the relationships we have with other people and things.

    • 55 min
    • video
    Selma Dabbagh and Courttia Newland on writing and community

    Selma Dabbagh and Courttia Newland on writing and community

    Writers Selma Dabbagh and Courttia Newland read from their work, and discuss why they write, who they write for, their imagined audiences, and how their writing relates to their identities.

    • 1 hr 21 min
    • video
    M. NourbeSe Philip on the haunting of history

    M. NourbeSe Philip on the haunting of history

    M. NourbeSe Philip reads from She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks (1988) and Zong! (2008) as she describes her poetic development. In discussion with Prof. Elleke Boehmer, Prof. Marina Warner offers a response that emphasises the transformative power of story, and Matthew Reynolds discusses Philip’s linguistic innovations.

    • 1 hr 41 min
    • video
    Editors and contributors, The Cambridge History of Black and Asian British Writing

    Editors and contributors, The Cambridge History of Black and Asian British Writing

    Profs Susheila Nasta and Mark Stein speak about the genesis of their new Cambridge History project, Dr Gail Low discusses the networks and institutions of Caribbean-British writing. Dr Henghameh Saroukhani considers the literary importance of Linton Kwesi Johnson’s dub poetry, and Dr Florian Stadtler looks at recent Asian-British cinema.

    • 1 hr 39 min
    • video
    Aminatta Forna on writing memory and trauma in The Memory of Love

    Aminatta Forna on writing memory and trauma in The Memory of Love

    Aminatta Forna gives a reading from her award-winning novel, The Memory of Love (2010), and discusses it with Prof. Ankhi Mukherjee. She talks about the psychology of war and healing after conflict, and about love, betrayal and complicity.

    • 59 min

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