Breaking New Ground is a project celebrating British writers and illustrators of colour who are creating stories for children and young people. It was launched at London Book Fair 2019 with a new booklet featuring over 100 contemporary creators.
30,000 copies of the booklet were distributed to every school in the country, as well as to librarians, festivals, venues, publishers, agents and all key people working in this sector of literature.
Celebrating British writers & illustrators of colour
This latest iteration of Speaking Volumes’ Breaking Ground series is created in partnership with specialist children’s literature organisations BookTrust and Pop Up Projects. Both organisations have been coordinating activites to make positive changes for contemporary writers and illustrators, supporting their careers, offer them opportunities and generally helping them break into the industry.
You can read the new booklet on Issuu by clicking the image below.
Check back to find out the progress of the project.
Speaking Volumes produced this film to explain what Breakng New Ground is. It features Sarwat Chadda, Yasmeen Ismail, Polly Ho-Yen, Peter Kalu, Tariq Mehmood and Ken Wilson-Max speaking about their experiences as writers and illustrators of colour and why this project is so important and needed.
The next chapter of Speaking Volumes’ Breaking Ground project began in 2017 with the launch of a new booklet celebrating writers of colour. We hope that the booklet is a valuable resource both at home and overseas, demonstrating the wide and varied literature of the UK whilst raising the profile and giving a platform to 200 contemporary British BAME authors. It was launched at London Book Fair.
The booklet accompanied major Breaking Ground showcases of British writers of colour in five European cities over 12 months, plus a series of events in the UK. Speaking Volumes took poets and prose authors to Tampere in Finland, Lisbon in Portugal, Madrid and Seville in Spain, Berlin in Germany and Brussels in Belgium. For each showcase we arranged for the translation of the visiting writers work into the language of the host country, printed individual brochures and distributed them to audiences and literature professionals in each country. These brochures can be read with the overview of each country visited along with videos and photos of each showcase.
Read the brochure in full here:
Breaking Ground Finland
Poets Zena Edwards, Vanessa Kisuule, Solomon OB, Roger Robinson and Yomi Sode performed at FestAfrika and the AfroEuropes Conference in Finalnd’s second city Tampere. Johny Pitts also gave a keynote address at the conference.
Breaking Ground Portugal
Peter Kalu and Jacob Ross gave a readings and a discussion on black British thrillers and crime writing at the Jose Saramago Foundation in Lisbon.
Breaking Ground Spain
Authors Yvvette Edwards, Colin Grant, Peter Kalu, Irenosen Okoje, Jacob Ross and Leone Ross gave talks and performed at the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD) conference being held in Seville, Spain. Prior to the conference, the women of the group took part in events at the University of Alcala in Madrid.
Breaking Ground Berlin
Francesca Beard, Rishi Dastidar, Caleb Femi and Xialou Gao presented multi-media adaptations of their work at Berlin organisation Lettrétage, which included film and audio accompaniments, a pecha kucha slideshow and a dual language theatre piece. In between each live performance was a filmed one, with Karen McCarthy Woolf’s Dancing Words piece, the premiere of Bidisha’s first poetry film, and a show of Johny Pitts’ Afropean travel photos.
Breaking Ground Brussels
As part of the Afropean conference at BOZAR Brussels, Speaking Volumes were invited to bring a Breaking Ground showcase for the headline event. Inua Ellams, Bernardine Evairsto, Amina Jama, Catherine Johnson read a mixture of prose and poetry on a bill opened by legendary dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, and followed by a 40 minute version of Nick Makoha and Roger Robinson’s Mixtape show.