Who's Coming

Bare Lit Festival 2016 will take place between 26-28th February, at the Free Word Centre and the Betsey Trotwood pub in Farringdon, London.

Below are some of the terrific international authors lined up. We'll be adding more info as the festival approaches.


Xiaolu Guo is a novelist, essayist, screenwriter and film maker. She was born in south-eastern China in 1973 and studied Film at Beijiing Film Academy and the UK National Film & TV School.

Her novel in English translation, Village of Stone (2004), was shortlisted for the 2005 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the 2006 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. It was followed by her first novel written in English, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers (2007), which tells the story of Z, a Chinese student‘s encounters in London and her inner journey of self-discovery. It was shortlisted for the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction.

In April 2013, she was named one of the 'Best of Young British Novelists' by Granta Magazine.


Leila Aboulela is a Sudanese-born writer whose work, written in English, has received critical acclaim and a high profile for its distinctive exploration of identity, migration and Islamic spirituality. Highlighting the challenges facing Muslims in Europe and “telling the stories of flawed complex characters who struggle to make choices using Muslim logic”, Aboulela’s work explores significant political issues. Her personal faith and the move in her mid-twenties from Sudan to Scotland are a major influence on her work.

Aboulela’s works have been included in cultural educational programs supported by the British Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities in the US.


Tendai Huchu’s first novel, The Hairdresser of Harare, was released in 2010 to critical acclaim, and has been translated into German, French, Italian and Spanish. His short fiction in multiple genres and non-fiction have appeared in The Manchester Review, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Gutter, Interzone, AfroSF, Wasafiri, Warscapes, The Africa Report and elsewhere. In 2013 he received a Hawthornden Fellowship and a Sacatar Fellowship.

Huchu was shortlisted for the 2014 Caine Prize. His new novel is The Maestro, The Magistrate & The Mathematician.


Malika Booker is a writer, spoken word and multidisciplinary artist. She has appeared world-wide both independently and with the British Council.

Booker was one of the touring poets with Bittersweet in 1999/2000 and has since featured in the spoken word project, Modern Love, and in Kin at the Barbican in 2004 . Her book,Breadfruit, was published in 2007.

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Robin Yassin-Kassab is the author of the novel The Road from Damascus. He has lived and worked in London, France, Pakistan, Turkey, Syria, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Oman and now lives in Scotland. He is co-author with Leila al-Shami of the forthcoming book on the Syrian revolution and war, Burning Country. His journalism on Syria has appeared at the Guardian, the National, al-Jazeera, Foreign Policy and elsewhere.

Robin Yassin-Kassab also co-edits and contributes to PULSE, which was recently listed by Le Monde Diplomatique as one of its five favourite websites.

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Zen Cho was born and raised in Malaysia. She is the author of Crawford Award-winning short story collection Spirits Abroad, and editor of anthology Cyberpunk: Malaysia, both published by Buku Fixi. She has also been nominated for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer and the Pushcart Prize, and honour-listed for the Carl Brandon Society Awards, for her short fiction. Her debut novel, Sorcerer to the Crown, is the first in a historical fantasy trilogy published by Ace/Roc Books (US) and Pan Macmillan (UK). She lives in London with her partner and practises law in her copious free time.

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Jane Yeh is an American poet who has lived in England for over a decade. Born in New Jersey, she was educated at Harvard University, the University of Iowa—where she took an MFA at the prestigious writers’ program—and at Manchester Metropolitan University. She has taught at a number of universities in the UK, including Oxford Brookes University, and is now a Senior Researcher in Creative Writing at Kingston University. She has published two collections with Carcanet: Marabou (2005), which was nominated for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, the Whitbread Book Award and the Jerwood Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, and The Ninjas (2012).

Yeh has received the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, an Academy of American Poets Prize, and a residency at Yaddo, and was a judge for the 2013 National Poetry Competition. 


Selina Nwulu is a writer, poet and researcher for a think tank. She has written for a number of outlets such as The Guardian, Red Pepper, the Free Word Centre and Sable litmag.

Her work has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies including collections by the RSA, Lunar Poetry, and Emma Press. She has performed at a number of festivals including Glastonbury, Edinburgh Fringe and Fiery Tongues Festival in Holland. She has previously toured nationally with Apples and Snakes, representing London as part of the ‘Public Address II tour’ Her work often touches on social and environmental justice as well as identity, nostalgia and belonging. 

Her first chapbook collection, The Secrets I Let Slip (Burning Eye Books) is out now. She is currently Young Poet Laureate for London 2015/6.

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Haris Durrani is a writer of fiction, memoir, and academic essays. His debut, Technologies of the Self, received the Driftless Novella Prize and is forthcoming from Brain Mill Press.  He is an M.Phil. candidate in History and Philosophy of Science at University of Cambridge and holds a B.S. in Applied Physics from Columbia University, where he co-founded The Muslim Protagonist Symposium. 

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Dean Atta is a poet and educator, with a BA Philosophy and English from the University of Sussex and an MA Writer/Teacher from Goldsmiths College, University of London. He is a member of Keats House Poets Forum and Malika’s Poetry Kitchen. He is also an Associate Artists with Mouthy Poets and New Writing South. He has been commissioned to write poems for Keats House Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain and Tate Modern. 

Dean's debut poetry collection I Am Nobody's Nigger was published in 2013 by The Westbourne Press. He lives in London and works internationally. 



Khairani Barokka (b. 1985) is an Indonesian writer, poet, artist, and disability and arts (self-)advocate in London. She was an NYU Tisch Departmental Fellow for her Masters, Emerging Writers Festival’s (AUS) Inaugural International Writer-In-Residence, and Indonesia’s first Writer-In-Residence at Vermont Studio Center. Okka is the writer/performer/producer of, among others, a deaf-accessible, solo spoken word/art show, “Eve and Mary Are Having Coffee” which premiered at Edinburgh Fringe 2014 with a grant from HIVOS. In 2014, she was recognized by UNFPA as one of Indonesia’s “Inspirational Young Leaders Driving Social Change” for “raising awareness of disability through inclusive arts”, and has been awarded six residencies, with a seventh upcoming.

Okka is also  co-editor of forthcoming HEAT, an anthology of Southeast Asian urban writing (Buku Fixi Publishing, 2016), the author of forthcoming poetry-art book Indigenous Species (Tilted Axis Press, 2016), and a PhD-by-practice candidate at Goldsmiths, as an LPDP Scholar. 

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Tosin Coker is a London born author and speaker,  proclaimed as the UK’s first black sci-fi author.  Within less than three months of her powerful début The Mouth of Babes hitting the bookshelves, Tosin had attracted the attention of esteemed producer and director, Menelik Shabazz.

Calling upon her own life experiences as an inheritor of the Sickle Cell blood disorder, Tosin inspires by way of example, enthusing that "the only limitations are those set by the boundaries of the mind". 

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Sunny Singh, was born in Varanasi, India, and brought up in various Indian cantonment towns, Islamabad, Pakistan and New York City, USA. 

Her debut novel, Nani’s Book Of Suicides (2000) was described as a “first novel of rare scope and power.” The Spanish translation of the novel won the inaugural Mar de Letras prize in 2003. Her second book, a work of non-fiction titled Single In The City: The Independent Woman’s Handbook (2001), was a first-of-its-kind exploration of single women in contemporary India and described as “witty and insightful.” Her second novel, With Krishna’s Eyes (2006), has been commended for its “profound insight” and described as “memorable”. Singh's latest novel, Hotel Arcadia, is published by Quartet Books.

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Anthony Anaxagorou is an award winning poet, prose writer, playwright, performer and educator. He has published eight volumes of poetry, a spoken word EP, a book of short stories and has written for theatre. His poetry has appeared on various BBC programs, while also featuring at the British Urban Film Awards and BBC 6 Music. In 2013 his poem Dialectics was interpreted and performed by Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas.

In 2015 his poetry and fiction writing won him the Groucho Maverick Award.

Anthony founded Out-Spoken in 2012 and has since launched Out-Spoken Press, a publishing house specialising in poetry, plays and critical writing. His work has been translated into Spanish, German, French and Japanese.

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Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire is the co-founder of the Writivism pan-African literary initiative. He has written about literature, arts, culture and politics for a range of publications including The Guardian, This is Africa and Chimurenga. He has appeared at a range of literary events including Africa Writes, Storymoja, Ake and International Literature Showcase and is currently an MSc Fellow at the African Leadership Centre (ALC), King's College London. Mwesigire has previously taught Law and Human Rights at Makerere, Uganda Christian and Martyrs universities.


Patrick Vernon OBE is a leading expert on African and Caribbean genealogy in the UK. Founder of Every Generation Media and 100 Great Black Britons. Patrick was selected by the Queen as Pioneer of the Nation for Cultural History in 2003. He has researched family history and Swahili culture in East Africa and Oman as a Clore Fellow and has advised the BBC, The National Archives, The National Trust, Royal Geographic Society, Victoria & Albert Museum and the British Council. Patrick write for The Voice, Guardian, and Mental Health Today. In 2012 he was awarded an OBE for his work tackling health inequalities for ethnic minority communities in Britain. Having worked for the Department of Health, NHS and the voluntary sector Patrick is an Associate Fellow at the Department of the History of Medicine at Warwick University, England. Patrick is a Patron of Santé a refugee and asylum seekers social enterprise basedin Camden.

Radhika Swarup spent a nomadic childhood in India, Italy, Qatar, Pakistan, Romania and England, which gave her a keen sense for the dispossessed. She has written opinion pieces for Indian broadsheets and the Huffington Post as well as short stories for publications including the Edinburgh Review.

Swarup's novel, Where the River Parts, will be published by Sandstone Press in February 2016.

Sareeta Domingo

Sareeta Domingo is a writer and editor from South East London. Her debut novelThe Nearness of You will be published by Piatkus Books in May 2016.

She has been commissioned to write several short stories in collections of erotic fiction for Agent Provocateur, and was also commissioned to write a novella in the genre for Pavilion Books. She writes reviews of contemporary romance titles on her blog, The Palate Cleanser.

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JJ Bola, is a Kinshasa born, London raised writer, poet, educator and workshop facilitator. JJ performs regularly at shows and festivals such asTongue Fu, Vocals & Verses, Chill Pill, The Round House, Ventnor Fringe, etc as well as Universities; SOAS, UCL, Oxford, Lincoln, University of Birmingham, Standford University and Merrit College in the Bay and other public institutions.

JJ Bola has published two books of poetry Elevate and Daughter of the Sun (ebook). His third, and latest, is his most comprehensive poetry collection WORD, which was launched to a sold out crowd, during Refugee Week on the 18th of June 2015 at Dalston Roof Park.  JJ Bola’s work is centred on a narrative of empowerment, humanisation, healing of trauma as well as discovery of self through art, literature and poetry. 

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Peter Brathwaite is a graduate of the Royal College of Music International Opera School and the Flanders Opera School, Ghent, and has distinguishing himself as an exciting young operatic talent. Recent engagements have included role and company debuts with Opera de Lyon, the Nederlandse Reisopera, Opera Holland Park, Glyndebourne, English Touring Opera and Edinburgh International Festival. On the concert platform, he has performed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, HET Gelders Orkest, HET Symfonieorkest, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Brathwaite is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

“Virile baritone, clean enunciation and sensitive acting”(The Telegraph)

..watch this space!