Together with JW3, we’re celebrating London in all its glory with readings, images and music from some of the most exciting contemporary writers and artists around. Musicians Ana Silvera and Maya Youssef and writers Bidisha (compere),Kayo Chingonyi, Stella Duffy, Sophie Herxheimer, Sabrina Mahfouz, Amaal Said, Karen McCarthy Woolf and Nadifa Mohamed come together for a jam-packed, jam-slam of a cabaret exploring our melting-pot city, the routes we all took to get here and the rich, crazy, diverse life it has to offer.
Bidisha is a poet, journalist, critic and broadcaster/presenter for the BBC, Channel 4 and Sky. Her most recent book, her fifth, is Asylum and Exile: Hidden Voices of London, published in March 2015 and based on her outreach work with asylum seekers.
Stella Duffy is an award-winning novelist, playwright, performer, presenter and the founder and Co-Director of the Fun Palaces Campaign for cultural democracy. She was awarded the OBE for Services to the Arts in 2016. Her latest novel is The Hidden Room (Virago, 2017).
Sophie Herxheimer is a poet and artist. She has exhibited and collaborated widely, made several artists books, and one ongoing project is collecting stories live in ink from members of the public, by listening and drawing. Her latest poetry collection is Velkom to Inklandt, which she has illustrated with papercuts which will be on display in the JW3 foyer throughout the festival.
Sabrina Mahfouz is a poet and playwright. Her work includes the plays Chef, Battleface and the love i feel is red; the poetry collection How You Might Know Me; the literary anthology The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write and the BBC shows Breaking the Code and We Are Here. She received a Fringe First Award for Chef and won a Sky Arts Academy Poetry Award.
Nadifa Mohamed is the author of Black Mamba Boy, which was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book award and won the 2010 Betty Trask prize from the Society of Authors. Her novel, The Orchard of Lost Souls, won the Somerset Maugham Prize and has been longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize.
Amaal Said is a Danish-born Somali photographer and poet, currently based in London. She is a member of the Burn After Reading poetry collective and a former Barbican Young Poet. She won the Wasafiri New Writing Prize for poetry in 2015.
Ana Silvera is a singer, songwriter and composer. Since the release of debut album The Aviary in 2012, her work has garnered broad acclaim from audiences and critics alike. “Stunning…Silvera mixes operatic and folk elements with magical storytelling” – The Guardian
Karen McCarthy Woolf’s most recent poetry collection is Seasonal Disturbances, a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Her first collection, An Aviary of Small Birds, was nominated for the Felix Dennis, Forward and Aldeburgh Best First Collection Prizes.
Maya Youssef is a London based Syrian virtuoso of the kanun, a traditional Syrian 78-stringed, plucked zither. She has performed at major UK festivals and venues and is currently working on her first debut album which will be produced by the fabled Joe Boyd and released later in 2017.