Bare Lit, the literary festival showcasing writers of colour, is partnering with Hachette UK for its 2018 edition. At the same time, Penguin Random House has been announced as a sponsor of the festival.
Taking place at The Albany Theatre in Deptford, London from 25th to 27th May, Bare Lit is an annual festival celebrating the work of writers of colour. Hachette is partnering with the event as part of its divisity and inclusion initiative Changing the Story. Hachette will have a stall over the weekend, at which staff from the publisher will be offering advice and information on the Changing the Story programme.
Sharmaine Lovegrove and Nick Davies, co-chairs of Changing the Story, said: “Our commitment to diverse publishing is at the heart of our internal diversity and inclusion initiative Changing the Story. Bare Lit have built up an impressive following and brilliant programme and we are proud to support their activities. We are delighted to be able to give 20 weekend tickets to people who would like the opportunity to hear stories and readings from writers of the BAME community as well as gain advice from the publishing industry publishing and working opportunities. A celebration of great writing alongside encouraging new talent is something we are thrilled to be part of.”
Meanwhile, festival sponsor Penguin Random House UK will have a pop-up stand at the festival throughout the weekend to promote its WriteNow programme. WriteNow aims to find, mentor and publish new writers from communities under-represented on the nation’s bookshelves, including BAME writers. It offers unpublished writers the opportunity to attend a free workshop on how to get published, and the chance to be mentored by an editor for a year. WriteNow will open for applications later this month, and for the first time this year will also include illustrators of children’s picture books.
Siena Parker, head of creative responsibility at Penguin Random House UK, said: “We launched WriteNow in 2016 because we know there are still too many stories which are not being told, and too many voices which are overlooked. Bare Lit offers such a fantastic space and moment to celebrate talented writers of colour. We’re so excited to be part of it.”
This year’s festival will feature a range of collaborations including poetry performances from Apples and Snakes, a live show with podcast "Mostly Lit", readings and a screening from "Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back", curated by editor Khairani Barokka;,and a panel presented by UK Black Pride about literature and LGBT+ struggles for equality.
Sponsored by The Royal Literary Fund, the keynote speech will be held by writer, editor and socio-cultural commentator Nii Ayikwei Parkes.
More details on the programme are available from the Bare Lit website.