Guyana SPEAKS: Guyanese-British poets and storywriters: London UK: 26 January 2020

Dear Friends,

Please join Guyana SPEAKS on Sunday, 26th January 2020 at the Classic in Tooting Bec (2pm-5pm) for a unique celebration of Guyanese-British poets and storywriters with Elly NilandBrian Reid and Maggie Harris. A flyer is attached.
Do you have a favourite Guyanese poet?  Do you write poetry of your own?  If yes, and in case we have time at the end of the programme, please bring along some poetry that you’d be happy to share with the audience.  We’re hoping to be able to make this an interactive event!

Tickets are £5 at the door, or available via eventbrite:

We’ll be offering complimentary drinks. Guyanese food can be preordered from the Classic via 020 8767 8372 by Thursday January 24, 2020.  The menu is below:

•Channa £2
•Cheese Rolls £2
•Pine Tarts £2
•Pholourie (7) £2
•Roti / Dhal Puri £2
• Curry Goat with Roti or D/Puri £6
•Salt Fish Cake (3) £2
•Bake & Saltfish £3

Poet’s Bios

Guyana-born, ELLY NILLAND is a Poet, Playwright, Story Writer and Teacher.

‘Market Day’, from her ‘Bone Soup’ collection, was shortlisted for the inaugural Guardian and 4th Estate short story prize in 2016. Elly’s first collection of poetry, In Retrospect, was nominated for Best First Book of Poetry and was runner up for the Guyana Prize for Literature 2004. Her second collection, Cornerstones, won the Guyana Prize for Literature 2006. Her 3rd collection, East of Centre, was funded by the British Arts Council and launched with several of the region’s leading writers at CARIFESTA 2008.

Elly Niland and David Dabydeen dramatised Harold Sonny Ladoo’s short novel, No Pain Like This Body, depicting the terrifying world of a family brutalised by violence, poverty and nature itself. Set in a Hindu Community in the Eastern Caribbean in 1905 during the August rainy season, it centres on a poor rice-growing family’s struggle to survive. No Pain Like this Body was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in 2003.

The Fog, a story about a sickness spreading across Malaysia, was specially commissioned for the BBC’s Commonwealth Stories season and was read by Liz Sutherland on BBC Radio 4 in 2005.

Elly is currently completing her first novel.

BRIAN REID is a DJ poet / MC based in Wiltshire, who was born in England of Guyanese parents. He began performing in 2013 after recovering from cancer. Currently unpublished, he is enjoying great success and recognition on the poetry circuit.

MAGGIE HARRIS is a Guyana-born writer living in Kent, Winner of the Guyana Prize for Literature 2000 and 2014, and Regional Winner of The Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2014. Her short fiction collection, In Margate by Lunchtime, was shortlisted for the Edgehill Prize. The writer of six collections of poetry, three short story collections and a memoir, Kiskadee Girl, her latest book of short stories, Writing on Water, is published by Seren.

Maggie Harris has performed her work across the UK, in Europe, Ireland and the Caribbean and has been published widely in journals and anthologies including Wasafiri, Poetry Wales, Womanspeak, Caribbean Writers and Peepal Tree Press. She has worked as a creative writing tutor and practitioner in schools and community settings, Sissinghurst Garden, retirement homes and museums. Collaborations and commissions include Loop Dance Company, Muse, Women Poets in Europe; Year of The Artist, Glyndebourne Opera, Saga, The St Lucian Embassy, Dylan Thomas Centre, Southampton University and Thanet Writers.

As one of the poets published by Bloodaxe in the anthology Out of Bounds, she is also part of the Out of Bounds project, an exploration ‘between poetry, ethnicity and place’

One of her poems, Cwmpengraig, Place of Stones, was filmed on-site in Wales with Vahni Capildeo, and was part of the Windrush Exhibition at The British Library in 2018.

She is an active participant on the Kent poetry scene, and performed her work at the Turner Contemporary as part of the Margate Bookie Festival this year. Her poems and stories regularly feature on the Mind the Gap podcast and she has recently recorded her poems on a cd Mother Tongue. For more, please refer to her website:

We look forward to seeing you there!

With warmest wishes,
Juanita Cox
Co-Founder, Guyana SPEAKS
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