From Friday, November 1, to Saturday, November 9, the Bernie Grant Arts Centre is presenting a bold new festival of words at the heart of one of London’s most diverse boroughs.

With a packed programme of readings, performance, talks, debates, films and workshops, the Tottenham Literature Festival will highlight work by Black writers and champion diverse children’s literature. From poetry and spoken word to memoir and prose, the Tottenham Literature Festival will celebrate storytelling in all its forms.

Hannah Azieb Pool, Artistic Director of the Bernie Grant Arts Centre, said: “The inaugural Tottenham Literature Festival will celebrate the power of literature to transform lives. Black communities have a rich history of literature through storytelling, written and spoken word, music and song. It’s an honour to create a space to celebrate and showcase this.”

During the festival there will be two full Saturdays of literature events for all ages (November 2 and 9). Hear from some of the very best black authors as they discuss everything from the power of black hair in literature to the role of poetry in mandem culture. There will be talks on the joys and challenges of writing about race, gender and class, how writing about love and pleasure can be an act of activism and how Black writers, musicians and artists are responding to gentrification. There will be writing workshops, a special pop-up book market, children’s activities and a chance to meet established and upcoming writers.

The festival begins on Friday, November 1, with a rare performance of Something Dark, a dramatic reading of the acclaimed one-man play by celebrated performance poet Lemn Sissay. Tied to the launch of Sissay’s bestselling memoir My Name is Why, the performance tells the story of his upbringing in foster care, and the search for his family and true identity.

Poet and storyteller Keisha Thompson will perform Man on the Moon on Thursday, November 7. Using her unconventional relationship with her father, this piece explores the impact that mental health can have on the family dynamic, particularly within the context of the Black British experience.

Confirmed speakers for the Tottenham Literature Festival include Emma Dabiri, author of Don’t Touch My Hair; Victoria Adukwei-Bulley, a poet, writer and filmmaker; and Mary Otumahana, an entrepreneur and rapper who runs The RecordShop.

To find out more about Tottenham Literature Festival events and book tickets, visit