Becoming ‘masters of language’ in Brent – Africa Writes: Young Voices

The Africa Writes: Young Voices programme seeks to open up the world of African and diaspora literature to young people in schools and inspire them to write and perform their own poetry.

Guided by poets and facilitators from the Africa Writes community, our young writers in schools explore traditional and contemporary African literature in a series of exciting interactive workshops and develop creative responses.

March 2019 saw the rollout of three of this year’s workshop strands in schools across London.

Poet Nick Makoha was at Newman Catholic College in Brent, where English Teacher Rossana Amado is leading on a Black Boys Reading Club initiative as part of a wider programme of projects supported by Brent LA involving boys of Black African and Caribbean heritage.

Rossana joined us at Africa Writes last year where she attended our education panel discussion ‘Why African Literature Matters’ and approached us about working with the programme. She has been planning a series of activities to engage and inspire young black students in her school, and hosted an evening for parents to involve them in the project.

In a lively interactive session last week, Nick invited the boys to ‘investigate’ him through the contents of his bag, to explore the room to understand the idea of a multiplicity of storytelling perspectives and to practise using their voices to best effect as they read aloud from his anthology, Kingdom of Gravity. They are now on a quest to become ‘masters of language’.

Ms Amado will be meeting with the boys fortnightly as they explore, read, recite, write and perform their way towards the Africa Writes: Young Voices showcase, which will be held as part of the festival on 5th July.

We look forward to returning to Newman Catholic College in June to catch up with the group and hear their work!

Joanna Brown, March 2019