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Lockdown Special #4 – May 2020

BookJam was streamed to you LIVE by Zoom at 7.50pm on Monday 25th May, and we’ll heard from Ivy Ngeow, Sarah-Jane Stratford, Jon Drori, The Confluentials, Laila Woozeer, Naomi Foyle, and Darius James.

The writers

Ivy Ngeow was born and raised in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. A graduate of the Middlesex University Writing MA programme, Ivy won the 2005 Middlesex University Literary Prize out of almost 1500 entrants worldwide. Her debut Cry of the Flying Rhino won the 2016 International Proverse Prize. She has written non-fiction for Marie Claire, The Star, The New Straits Times, South London Society of Architects’ Newsletter and Wimbledon magazine. Her short stories have appeared in Silverfish New Writing anthologies twice, The New Writer and on the BBC World Service,  Fixi Novo’s Hungry in Ipoh anthology and most recently the Fixi 2020 Anthology. Ivy won first prize in the Commonwealth Essay Writing Competition 1994, first prize in the Barnes and Noble Career Essay Writing competition 1998 and was shortlisted for the David T K Wong Fellowship 1998 and the Ian St James Award 1999. She lives in London.


Sarah-Jane Stratford is the author of the acclaimed novel Radio Girls, about the early days of the BBC and the women who helped make it great.

In addition to her latest book, Red Letter Days (published by Berkeley), she’s written numerous essays and short stories. She looks forward to roaming London again soon and is catching up on knitting.



@stratfordsj /


Jon Drori is the author of Around the World in 80 Trees, a bestseller translated into 14 languages. Ambassador for the Woodland Trust and WWF, on the board of Raspberry Pi, The Eden Project and Cambridge University Botanic Garden. Previously, Trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and The Woodland Trust. Four-times TED speaker (at on topics including seed-banks, misconceptions in science, pollen and the tricks that flowers play. Previously head of commissioning for BBC Online and before that documentary film-maker and commissioning executive for BBC TV. Awarded CBE. Bakes bread. twitter: @jondrori #80Trees f/b: @jondroriauthor inst:@jondroriuk


The Confluentials will be providing our musical interlude. The musical duo are Christina Blaskovich and Barry Coulter, from Cranbrook, Canada, who bring a 21st Century sensibility to English Folk Rock and Celtic Traditional music.




Laila Woozeer is an award-winning composer and performer whose work has been heard at all major festivals across the UK and Europe. Laila is also recognised as a writer and educator whose work focuses on identity and race, including in the viral 2015 post “What It’s Like Not Being White”, and the ongoing video series of “Lailalectures” on Instagram. In 2019, Simon & Schuster announced they had acquired rights to Laila’s first book “Not Quite White” due for release this summer.

Pre-order Laila’s book ‘Not Quite White’ here


Naomi Foyle is a British-Canadian writer. Her many poetry publications include The Night Pavilion (Waterloo Press, UK), an Autumn 2008 Poetry Book Society Recommendation, and Adamantine (Red Hen/Pighog Press, US). Also a science fiction novelist and verse dramatist, she is currently adapting her eco-SF quartet The Gaia Chronicles for a puppet theatre production. Editor of the bilingual anthology A Blade of Grass: New Palestinian Poetry (Smokestack Books), for her poetry and essays about Ukraine she was awarded the 2014 Hryhorii Skovoroda prize. She lives in Brighton, UK, and teaches creative writing at the University of Chichester – currently online!


Darius James, aka Dr. Snakeskin, is an African-American writer and spoken-word performance artist whose work is influenced by the Voodoo religion. He is the author of several books including That’s Blaxploitation!: Roots of the Baadasssss ’Tude (Rated X by an All-Whyte Jury); the cult classic Negrophobia: an Urban Parable re-released by New York Review Books Classics; Voodoo Stew; and Froggie Chocolate’s Christmas Eve. His writing has appeared in multiple publications, including The Village Voice, Vibe, and Spin, and he is the co-writer and narrator of the 2012 film The United States of Hoodoo. He lives in Connecticut.


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