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March 6 2017

The writers

Book cover: The Fragile Democracy by Christopher Jackson
Christopher Jackson is a regular contributor to outlets such as Salon, The Hill, The Islamic Monthly, and Politics. The Fragile Democracy examines the Obama administration, the 2016 US election, Brexit, democracy in the ancient world, and the state of modern politics. Before becoming a freelance writer in 2015, Christopher trained as a lawyer and as a journalist. He is the author of The Gallery, a collection of poems.

Book cover: The Autonomous Life? by Nazima KadirNazima Kadir is an urban anthropologist. Her book The Autonomous Life? is based on her experiences living and working in a squatters’ community in Amsterdam for over three years. Nazima has received awards from the Fulbright Program and the US National Science Foundation, and has lived and worked in the US, Latin America, the Middle East, South Asia and Europe. Nazima currently lives in London and works in design and innovation.

Find out more about Nazima at 

Head shot of Jim GleesonAfter leaving Ireland in the 1980s to travel the world, Jim Gleeson now lives in London. In his short stories, Jim sets memories against different backgrounds to tell tales of the shifting metropolis. Jim has published several short stories, including A Swan Called Frank which was longlisted for the 2016 London Short Story Prize.

Book cover: Tell Tales volume 1Dzifa Benson has read and performed her prose and poetry at Tate Britain, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Arts, and Shakespeare & Company Paris. Her work has been published in short story anthology Tell Tales Volume 1, featured by the National Gallery, the Guardian, the Evening Standard, and performed at the Bush Theatre.

Find out more about Dzifa at and on Twitter @DzifaBenson 

Book cover: Seduce by Desiree ReynoldsDesiree Reynolds began writing in south London as a freelance journalist for The Weekly Gleaner and The Voice. She has since written film scripts, poetry and had her short stories published in SABLE LitMag and various anthologies. Her first novel, Seduce, was published in 2013. Desiree is a journalist, teacher, broadcaster and DJ and is currently working on a collection of short stories, a novel set during the Haitian revolution, and her PhD.

Find out more about Desiree at and on Twitter @desreereynolds 

Book cover: Beautiful BluesRichard Skinner is a writer who grew up in Trinidad. His forthcoming novel, The Darks, is partly set in Trinidad and an extract from the novel appears in the new anthology Beautiful Blues. Richard is the author of three novels published by Faber & Faber, three books of non-fiction and two poetry collections. His work has been nominated for prizes and is published in seven languages.

Find out more about Richard at and on Twitter @RichardNSkinner

Book cover: Speak Gigantular by Irenosen OkinojieIrenosen Okojie is a writer and arts project manager. Her debut novel Butterfly Fish won a Betty Trask award. Her work has been featured by the Observer, the Guardian, the BBC and the Huffington Post and her short stories have been published internationally. She was named by Ben Okri at the 2015 London Short Story Festival as a talent to watch. Her short story collection Speak Gigantular is shortlisted for the 2016 Jhalak Prize.

Find out more about Irenosen at and on Twitter @IrenosenOkojie 

Book cover: Past Mortems by Carla ValentineCarla Valentine works with the dead: she’s your average chick who just happens to know as much about corpses as she does about cocktails. After studying forensics, Carla assisted pathologists with post-mortems for years before eventually becoming Technical Curator of the world’s most famous pathology museum. When it comes to death, she’s a world-class expert.

Find out more about Carla at and on Twitter @ChickAndTheDead 

Head shot of Sherbaan V. ValeanSherbaan V. Valean is a young writer from Transylvania who currently lives in London. He has been scribbling since a young age, but only recently gave it more serious thought. In his own words, he says he writes for his own pleasure, and hopefully for the pleasure of others. Also, he writes because it wants to get out. And just because.

Headshot of Jacqueline CrooksJacqueline Crooks is a Jamaican-born British social action writer. She writes stories about Caribbean migration and Caribbean sub-cultures. Her first book, The Ice Migration (a collection of linked short stories), will be published by Peepal Tree Press in autumn 2017. The Ice Migration project was funded by Arts Council England and involved Jacqueline and other writers collaborating with Caribbean and migrant elders to tell their stories.

Find out more about Jacqueline at or on Twitter @Luidas 

Jo Clayton storytelling to a crowd of people in a forestJo Clayton is a professional storyteller who tells traditional tales from all over the world. She has performed at the Southbank Centre, Storystock Circus, Dulwich Literary Festival, schools, community venues and festivals. She is storyteller in residence at Great Ormond Street Hospital and was Practitioner in Residence at Shakespeare’s Globe. She writes original children’s fiction and short stories for adults.

Find out more about Jo at and on Twitter @Storycycler 

rhiando-zelda-16-12-05-sZelda Rhiando lives in Brixton and is one of the organisers of the Brixton BookJam. She is the author of three books: Caposcripti, Fukushima Dreams and Good Morning Mr Magpie. She is a contributor to the Poetry Library and an occasional journalist. When not writing she can be found child-wrangling and making digital products.

Find out more about Zelda at and on Twitter @badzelda