Writer, poet and educator JJ Bola will be doing an intimate reading of his newly published and highly-acclaimed novel No Place to Call Home, available to order online or to buy in bookshops who know a thing or two about sensational literature.
The novel is a unique tale of belonging, identity and immigration, of hope and hopelessness, of loss – not by death, but by distance – and, by no means the least, of love. Although this is Bola’s first novel, he has previously published three books of poetry: Elevate (2012), and Daughter of the Sun (2014), and, WORD (2015) – his most comprehensive poetry collection.
Bola has also visited numerous universities to deliver talks and workshops internationally, including Oxford, University of Birmingham and SOAS in the UK, plus UCLA, Stanford University and Merrit College in the Bay Area, San Francisco and Oakland, where he won the Oakland Poetry Slam. He als reads regularly at poetry shows and festivals across the UK, including at Glastonbury and the Roundhouse. JJ Bola’s work is centred on a narrative of empowerment, humanisation, healing of trauma as well as discovery of self through art, literature and poetry. Creating the increasingly popular adage, 'hype your writers like you do you rappers', he believes that the true purpose of poetry (and art as a whole) is to expose the reality of this world and how to, most importantly, survive it.
JJ will be in conversation about No Place to Call Home – recently listed in The Guardian’s ‘Not the Booker Prize 2017’ – with The S+K Project’s co-founder Malakai Sargeant. Malakai is an avid writer and regularly performs his poetry at festivals and events across the UK, including at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Stoke Newington Literary Festival 2017 and last year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, with his work dwelling on notions of identity, black masculinity and gentrification. He was in the most recent Barbican Young Poet cohort and co-runs the poetry movement Veranda with Belinda Zhawi. Malakai also works extensively in theatre – playwriting, facilitating and directing – as well as having produced events at numerous venues across London including at the Courtyard Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre. Being a trustee for theatres Hackney Showroom and the London International Festival of Theatre, he champions accessibility, representation and inclusivity in his practice.