Wild Imperfections


Sunday 24 October, 14:30 – 16:00 BST
Venue: Knowledge Centre Theatre and British Library Player
Tickets: Included in Sunday Day Pass


With Natalia Molebatsi, Anni Domingo, Kadija Sesay, Olumide Popoola, Tj Dema and Tolu Agbelusi.

Exclusive pre-launch event of the multi-generational anthology featuring the work of Black women and womxn poets from Botswana to Brazil.

‘Puts Black women where we know we belong, not at the margins of other people’s art…but at the helm of our own creative practice’ – Bernardine Evaristo

In this collection, we encounter ancestors who made love, just for the sake of love, and women who die with each orgasm while attempting to mark the extent of their own humanities. This is for the nuns, the singers, the clowns, the diviners and the conjurers who reject the constant attempt to clean up history. The wildly imperfect women of slick braids, shiny skin and succulent lips, building new homes from clouds for future legions. Here congregate the women, womxn and womyn who do not believe in tough love that disguises hurt just to prove a point. They dance with the dead with exquisite feet, cheekbones high, reflecting their mothers’ smiles. Because no one claps for martyrs, these dirty/pretty women learn to walk cities like they own them, choosing the battles of their hearts. If this collection teaches anything, it is that love is always messy, that our sacrament requires wet wipes and that we are just flesh and bone honing practice. Contributors include iconic poets such as Nikki Giovanni, Diana Ferrus, Miriam Alves, Jackie Kay, NourbeSe Phillip, Cheryl Clarke, Lebogang Mashile, Staceyann Chin, Olumide Popoola, Makhosazana Xaba, Koleka Putuma, Safia Elhillo, Gabeba Baderoon, Warsan Shire, Ladan Osman, Anni Domingo, Elizandra Souza, and Jumoke Verissimo.


This event will be BSL interpreted.


This is a hybrid event which you can experience either in-person or through live stream on the British Library Player. The safety of our audiences are paramount, if you choose to attend in-person please note we will still be implementing socially distanced measures. Be prepared for an exciting evening brought to you with your safety and comfort in mind.




About the speakers:

Anni Domingo, Writer, Director, Lecturer and Actress in Radio, TV, Films and Theatre. Her short stories and poems are in various anthologies, including Wild Imperfections. Her plays have been produced in the UK.  Her first screenplay Blessed Assurance has just been filmed. An extract from her debut novel Breaking the Maafa Chain features in the New Daughters of Africa (2019) anthology and was published in September 2021 by Jacaranda.

Kadija Sesay,  Hon FRSL, FRSA is a literary activist. She’s the former publisher of SABLE LitMag and is the Publications Manager for Inscribe at Peepal Tree Press. Her poetry collection is Irki. Kadija has co-edited several anthologies and recently co-authored This is the Canon. She is the co-founder of Mboka Festival in The Gambia, the founder of AfriPoeTree SIV and a PhD scholarship student  researching Black British Publishers and Pan-Africanism.

Tolu Agbelusi is a Nigerian British, poet, playwright, performer, educator and lawyer whose work addresses the unperformed self, womanhood and the art of living. Her debut poetry collection Locating Strongwoman (Jacaranda Books) was published in October 2020. A Callaloo Fellow, Agbelusi’s work was shortlisted for the 2018 White Review Poetry Prize and she was a 2017 BBC Slam Finalist. She has been published internationally and widely including in Wildness Journal, Aké Review, White Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Brittle Paper and Peepal Tree’s Filligree Anthology. She has given readings internationally including at Cheltenham Literary Festival, Stanza International Poetry Festival, Lagos International Poetry Festival, Poetry Africa, the London Southbank and for the BBC. Her poetry film, Wake Up, was selected and screened at the 2016 Zebra Poetry Film Festival. www.ToluAgbelusi.com

About the readers:

Natalia Molebatsi is a South African writer, performance poet and cultural worker. She has developed a large following through her poetry salons, and is credited with having “been responsible for introducing the work of Alice Walker and Toni Morrison to the post-apartheid generation in South Africa.

Nigerian-German Olumide Popoola has published essays, poetry, fiction, and a play. She has a PhD in Creative Writing, curated Berlin’s inaugural international African Bookfest, and is the leader of Arts Council funded emerging LGBTQ+ writers scheme, The Future is Back. Her critically acclaimed novel When We Speak of Nothing was published by Cassava Republic Press. Scottish writer Jackie Kay named her one of Britain’s ten notable Black & Brown writers.


Tjawangwa Dema is a Motswana poet, educator and arts administrator. Her collection The Careless Seamstress won the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poetry. Her chapbook Mandible was selected for the African Poetry Book Fund’s New-Generation African Poets series. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and has given readings and taught workshops in over twenty countries. Her poems have been translated into languages including Spanish, Chinese, German and Swedish. She lives in Bristol and works as a writer and literary events producer.



Image: cover of Wild Imperfections edited by Natalia Molebatsi

Africa Writes 2021 returns from 4 – 24 October. You can join us in celebrating the imagination, pleasure and activism within contemporary African literature either online, at 180 The Strand and the British Library. Learn more about the programme here.