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A festival celebrating black authors was held last weekend.

The Black British Book Festival opened at the Legacy Centre of Excellence in Aston on Saturday.

It celebrated black authors from all literary genres across the UK in the hope of  removing barriers for writers looking to get their work published.

David Olusoga OBE set the headline, which first launched in 2021 and claims to be the biggest of its kind in Europe.

It was founded by Nena and the Green Juice author, Selina Brown.

After facing a series of challenges when publishing her first book during the pandemic, she set about creating an opportunity for other budding writers.

 

“I really wanted to get into the traditional publishing arena but I faced multiple barriers,” she said. “It was a very daunting experience.”

Her idea was to create the festival to support black people navigating the publishing industry. In its debut year it attracted around 600 visitors.

 

“We try to support black British authors to get their books out there,” Ms Brown said.

 

“The festival is a space where black authors are lifted up and celebrated,” she added. “This event for everyone to enjoy the vibrant, colourful and touching voices of black writers from across the UK.”

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Laura Henry-Allain MBE

Writer, children’s content creator and producer (JoJo and Gran Gran) at Allain Creatives

I have been trying the whole day to summarise, one of the most inspiring events that I have attended, The Black British Book Festival in Birmingham.

As a Londoner born and bred, it was refreshing to attend an event North of Watford! Putting Birmingham on the map and to showcase Black literature talent from across the UK.

I had conversations with two-year-olds and an 84-year-old, who only recently written books!
I loved meeting Nate Holder, Diane Ewen, @officialjamelia Jasmin Richard’s etc. so many powerful people.

I loved listening to other colleagues’ stories, which were informative and inspiring.

The music, food and quality of stands where excellent!

I did two short story sessions with the little people.

My sister Liz Pemberton and I sat down for a conversation on my childhood why and the impact this has on my work in, education, books and TV.

With reflections on being dyslexic and raised in West London.

One section of the conversation that resonated with the attendees, was where I shared the importance of support and mentoring others: “Helping others to cross.” To coin Tyler Perry’s quote.

Big up Serlina, Black British Book Festival, The Legacy Centre, Cipher Shayaam Showering you all with blessings and flowers.

I look forward to seeing this annual event go from strength to strength. I am reminded of another Tyler Perry’s words of wisdom:

“While you’re fighting for a seat at the table, I’ll be down in Atlanta building my own.’ Because what I know for sure is that if I could just build this table, God will prepare it for me in the presence of my enemies.

Rather than being an icon, I want to be an inspiration… I want you to hear this: Every dreamer in this room, there are people whose lives are tied to your dream. Own your stuff, own your business, own your way.”

LR, @theselinabrown and Black Media

EMANCIPATE YOURSELF

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