The inclusion and representation of black voices in the literary and cultural world is a prominent theme, in different ways, both in Italy and UK. In Italy, a country that has long struggled to come to terms with its colonial past, the voices of a new array of authors from the African diaspora have just recently started to be heard. Elsewhere in Europe and in the UK, black and ethnic minority voices have been contributing to the cultural debate for a long time now, yet their representation and inclusion seem to be still a complex issue.
Igiaba Scego is an Italian novelist, journalist, researcher, and activist. She was born in Rome to Somali parents who took refuge in Italy following a coup d’état in their native country. The English translation of her novel Adua was published in 2017 by New Vessel Press in the US and will be published in the UK by Jacaranda Books.
Sharmaine Lovegrove is a publisher. After co-founding a literary scouting company and becoming literary editor for Elle UK, she now heads her own imprint, Dialogue Books (part of Little, Brown), with a focus on BAME voices and improving diversity in the literary world.
Chair: Marianne Tatepo works in publishing in London. She has written for the Guardian, the Bookseller, Spread the Word and Brooklyn magazine, and was published in On Anxiety by 3 of Cups Press.