Bare Lit Festival‘s aims are to counteract the trend of equating literary merit with whiteness by highlighting the amazing variety of work currently being produced by Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) writers. That’s why we put together an exciting programme of performances, panels and conversations like ‘What does liberation in literature look like?’, ‘Second generation poets in exile’, ‘(Re)writing pasts and futures’ and much more in our inaugural year.

Your Bare Lit team,
Sam, Henna, Mend, Samira, Kelly & Yen

Photos by Wasi Daniju unless otherwise stated.


I think every time you organise an event there’s an opportunity to create a community, and this year with the launch of Bare Lit I hope that we brought together people who needed to cross paths.

There was something distinctive about the atmosphere, writers stuck around and sat in on events, moving from the stage into the audience. New talents brought their work out and they got books signed by people who had inspired them.

People engaged generously with one another, they connected and they celebrated.

Working on the Bare Lit project has been hard, but working with the team has been a joy. We have worked collaboratively, making decisions through consensus. Our community’s support has been at the heart of making the festival happen, be this through material donations, volunteering during the festival, offering press coverage or just making a buzz.

I’ve learned so much through the process that I just don’t think I could resist doing another one.


Bare Lit turned out to be everything we could have hoped for and more! We had an inclination it was going to be special when we first started organising back in 2015 and began inviting authors to participate. The typical response was either yes straightaway, or “Sorry, I’m engaged elsewhere on those dates but this is a great initiative.” Support came from all corners, some very unexpected. I’m glad we could provide a platform for authors and poets and give PoC audiences an event to attend that reflected their own interests. When we were told on the day that our hashtag #BareLit16 had been trending on Twitter we all leaped for joy! Then when I even as an organiser couldn’t get in to the Stories For Life session on Saturday as it was too full, I knew we had something special on our hands. Long may it continue.


Bare Lit has been an incredible festival! It’s given me and (I hope!) others a space for real exchanges and conversations. Together with our supporters and authors we were able to create something so utopian where the love and commitment we share as writers, readers, listeners of colour was nurtured and celebrated in the most inspiring way. Coming back out into London after the festival felt incongruent with the weekend’s experience – but like all endings, Bare Lit 16’s ending also marks a beginning, and I’m really excited to seeing it unfold more over the years!

Thank you to:

To our sponsors and all our volunteers and helpers over the weekend, Anand Madhvani, Shane Thomas, Siana Bangura, Huma Munshi, Sabeena Akhtar, Léonie Chao-Fong, Annette Nkwocha, Kiri Kankhwende, Husseina Amhed, Ruby Famakinwa, Joseph Guthrie, Schnacken Dias and Seb Butt

The Performers of Stories to Life

Rebecca Gloria, Daphne Smith, Naida Redgrave ,Jendella Brown, Firdos Ali ,Nasrin Parvez

The Authors and Poets

Leila Aboulela, Tendai Huchu, Dean Atta, Tosin Coker, Malika Booker, Zen Cho, Robin Yassin-Kassab,  Peter Kalu, Raymond Antrobus, Catherine Johnson , Courttia Newland, Anthony Anaxagorou, Haris Durrani, JJ Bola, Rachel Shabi, Sareeta Domingo, Radhika Swarup,  Jane Yeh,  Selina Nwulu, Khairani Barokka, Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire, Patrick Vernon OBE, Peter Brathwaite, Raymond Antrobus, Karen McCarthy Woolf,  R. A. Villanueva, Ramsey Hassan, Kelly Kanayama, Hibaq Osman, Selma Dabbagh, Asia Alfasi and Joan Anim-Addo

Photos by Wasi Daniju unless otherwise stated.

Bare Lit Press Coverage

Watch all the Bare Lit Festival 2016 events here and to make Bare Lit Festival happen again please support us with the purchase of a Bare Lit Tote Bag!


3 thoughts on “Bare Lit Festival: Building a Community

  1. Thank you soo much for hosting this incredible event. I followed it closely on Twitter and am thrilled to have discovered so many new writers and artists.

    I may be wrong, but I’m not aware of there being a writing convention/festival in America with such a scope and ambition. At least not one that has garnered much national attention. I hope America takes note!

    Liked by 1 person

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