Hachette UK’s black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) employee network THRIVE is partnering with its authors to host a series of free panels in celebration of Black History Month.
The panels, which will be held virtually throughout October, will feature a range of Hachette UK authors and are part of the company's wider Changing the Story programme of diversity and inclusion initiatives.
A Black Love panel will take place on 14th October from 7 p.m.-8 p.m. and will focus on the importance of seeing black love represented in books and on-screen. It will cover the process of writing romance and rom-coms and how we can go about supporting and encouraging more media to bring black love and black joy to the forefront. Panellists include Sareeta Domingo, author of Love on the Mainstage (Hachette Children’s Group), Bolu Babalola, author of Love in Colour (Headline), pictured, and Elizabeth Okoh, author of The Returnees (Hodder & Stoughton).
A Black Activism Panel will take place on 21st October from 7 p.m.-8 p.m. and will be chaired by Arike Oko, m.d. of the Black Cultural Archives. Panellists include Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, who wrote This Is Why I Resist (Headline), Alexandra Wilson, author of In Black & White (Octopus) and Patrick Vernon, author of 100 Black Britons (Little, Brown), who will be talking about their roles as strong activists for black people in their respective fields, the importance of activism in everyday life and black Britons that have inspired them.
The Publishers and Agents of Tomorrow panel will take place on 29th October from 7 p.m.-8 p.m. and will be chaired by Sharmaine Lovegrove, publisher of Dialogue Books. This panel will focus on how to break into the publishing industry and include Kwaku Osei Afrifa, editorial assistant for Hodder Studio, Sile Edwards, literary agent for Mushen Entertainment, and Nelle Andrews, literary agent for Rachel Mills Literary as panellists.
More panels are to be announced, including one on black creatives with participants Kingsley Nebechi, illustrator of Akala’s The Dark Lady (Hachette Children’s Group), and Marssaié, creative director at Knights Of.
David Shelley, c.e.o. of Hachette UK, commented: "At Hachette, Black History Month has always been a time to celebrate the contributions of black creatives to our publishing and our culture. This year, sadly we must also reflect on the disproportionate impact of coronavirus on the black community and the unacceptable racial injustices we have seen played out in the headlines since [the killing of] George Floyd.
"I’m very proud of the brilliant work our THRIVE network — now 326 strong — are doing to amplify black voices, both inside and outside Hachette. They’re shining a light on a range of issues this October, starting with the importance of representing Black love in our books and on screen, and I’m looking forward to listening and learning at their events."
Ebyan Egal and Joelyn Rolston-Esdelle, co-leads of THRIVE, commented: "Black History Month for THRIVE has been a time to highlight our incredible black authors, colleagues and creatives. With this year's theme of 'Celebrating Black Lives', we hope to amplify, uplift and centre them throughout our activities this month, particularly at a time when their voices and experiences have been at the forefront of recent world events."
Proceeds from the panels will go to the Stephen Lawrence Trust and, in the case of the Black Activism panel, to both the SLT and the Black Cultural Archives.
More information on how to sign up to the panels can be found on THRIVE's Twitter account, @THRIVEHachette.
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