Weighted Words

Please note: this event has been cancelled.


Performances by West Yorkshire writers from the Peepal Tree Inscribe Readers and Writers Group, as featured in Weighted Words, a new anthology of rich and wide-ranging work, edited by Jacob Ross.

With Malika Booker, Barsa Ray, Lara Rose and Yvonne Witter. Presented by Rawan Eisa.

Malika Booker is a British poet of Guyanese and Grenadian parentage and the founder of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen. Her collection Pepper Seed (Peepal Tree Press, 2013) was shortlisted for the OCM Bocas 2014 poetry prize, and the Seamus Heaney Centre 2014 prize for first full collection. She received her MA from Goldsmiths University and was recently awarded the Cultural Fellowship in Creative Writing/Literary Art post at Leeds University. Malika was the first British poet to be a fellow at Cave Canem and the inaugural Poet in Residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company, and has represented British writing internationally, both independently and with the British Council. Malika has also written for the stage and radio, and poems are widely published in anthologies and journals including: Out of Bounds, Black & Asian Poets (Bloodaxe 2012); Ten New Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010); The India International Journal 2005; and Bittersweet: Contemporary Black Women’s Poetry (The Women’s Press, 1998).

Barsa Ray was shortlisted in The Book Edit Writers’ Prize and The Asian Writer First Novel competition. She was long-listed in Mslexia and Fish fiction competitions. She was awarded a mentorship by Peepal Tree Press to work on her second novel with Jhalak Award-winning writer Jacob Ross. Her short stories have been published in Weighted Words (Peepal Tree Press) and Present Tense (Dahlia Press). Her poetry publications include Magma, Skearzines, Filigree (Peepal Tree Press), The Purple Breakfast Review (University of Loughborough) and Beautiful Dragons anthologies (including Saboteur Award winner Bloody Amazing). She has written and staged a play, All I Dream Of and has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Leeds.

 Lara Rose is a Leeds visual artist, sculptor, poet, author, singer, and songwriter with roots in Yoruba culture. Her first book, Victory the Other Side – 24 Simple Tips To Keep Going Daily, was self-published in 2016. Lara completed her MA (Art & Design) with Distinction at Leeds Beckett University (LBU) in September 2018 and is currently following up with PhD studies. Her research is focusing on how Yoruba culture influences artistic practices in Leeds including assemblage sculpture, carnival, music production, and the role of word play. She coined the term “Afropolitan melodies” and “Afro Dada” fusing Yoruba and English languages and culture in her writing, musical and artistic practice. Lara is also the current President of the Creative Society and ‘BAME’ Rep at Leeds School of Arts (LBU) and an Arts and Culture rep at the Leeds BME Hub, facilitating Black History Month (BHM) events, art exhibitions and performances. She was also a part of Geraldine Connor’s phantasmagorical Carnival Messiah, at Harewood House and Royal Albert Hall. Much inspired by Geraldine Connor, Lara birthed the musical Nomad Woman.

 Yvonne Witter (MA, CF, FRSA) is a communications, media and business professional, who has amassed extensive experience in offering business coaching, advisory and technical support to small-to-medium scale enterprises and social enterprises. Writing has always been a feature of her life and she is presently carving out an identity for herself as a writer of more than non-fiction. She has worked in Ghana, Cameroon, Malawi, Gambia, Myanmar, Jamaica, Brazil, Turkey and Italy. Her work includes non-fiction published in anthologies, newspapers and magazines. Her books include Why Do I Love These People; Hair, Power & Skin Revolution; Inspiring Women World Wide; The Voice Newspaper; Tunza Spirit; Black Success Stories, European Journal, Yorkshire Writers Lunch Blogspot; This Is Us-Black, British and Female; Weighted Words; Family. Her most recent book is Developing Customer Service in the Black Owned Business.

Location: Small Seeds, Castlegate (New Street junction), HD1 2UD

Age Guidance: 16+

Access Guide:

ONLINE: Polari LGBTQ+ Literary Salon

Bestselling author Paul Burston (The Black Path, The Closer I Get) hosts the acclaimed LGBTQ+ literary salon Polari, with guest authors Okechukwu Nzelu (The Private Joys of Nnenna Meloney, Here Again Now) and Diana Souhami, who won the 2021 Polari Prize with her historical biography No Modernism Without Lesbians.

Paul Burston is the author of six novels and four non-fiction books and editor of two short story collections. Paul is curator and host of award-winning LGBTQ+ literary salon Polari and founder of The Polari Prize for emerging and established LGBTQ+ writers, he is also a regular contributor to TV and radio. His first crime novel The Black Path (2016) became a Number 1 bestseller at WH Smith. The Gay Divorcee (2009) was optioned for TV. Lovers & Losers (2007) was shortlisted for a Stonewall Award. His debut novel Shameless (2001) was shortlisted for the State of Britain Award. His memoir We Can Be Heroes will be published in 2023.

Okechukwu Nzelu is a Manchester-based writer. In 2015 he was the recipient of a Northern Writers’ Award from New Writing North. His debut novel, The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney won a Betty Trask Award; it was also shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and the Polari First Book Prize, and longlisted for the Portico Prize. In 2021, it was selected for the Kingston University Big Read. His second novel, Here Again Now, will be published in March 2022. He is a regular contributor to Kinfolk magazine, and a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Lancaster University.

Diana Souhami won the 2021 Polari prize for LGBTQ+ books with No Modernism Without Lesbians, a richly researched and hugely enjoyable account of a group of gay women who helped to begin the modernist movement. She won several other awards, including the US Lambda Literary Award (twice) and the Whitbread biography award for Selkirk’s Island. Two of her books, The Trials of Radclyffe Hall and Coconut Chaos, have been broadcast as BBC R4’s Book of the Week. Her first book: Gluck: Her Biography, was recently the basis for a BBC documentary and exhibition at Brighton Art Gallery.

This event is ONLINE, you will receive a Zoom link the day before the event.

While this event is FREE booking is required so we can send you the Zoom link.
Book Tickets

Age guidance: 16+