First I hit a bad start. That afternoon, I got to the station to find that due to flooding (we’d had a massive down-pour earlier) no trains were running from Ilford to Liverpool Street. I took another route – you know – going backwards to come forward again, and eventually made it to the event one hour late!
I walked in, sweat dripping down my neck and lower back and tip-toed to an available seat. There were two black women on the stage: Bernadine Evaristo and another, whom I later learnt was Andrea Stuart. At the time she was reading from her published autobiography. The writing was engaging enough to draw me in and give my body some time to cool down.
There was a third woman on the stage and, because she was white, I wondered why she was there. It soon became clear that she was the chair. Deirdre Osborne.
Was this it? I asked myself, after Andrea Stuart finished reading her piece. True it was difficult for me to get into the event, having arrived so late, but I couldn’t help wondering: Where are the rest of the black writers? I looked around the theatre. There were between 70-100 of predominantly young black people, but a whole block of vacant seats. Out of the questions from the audience, I found the most interesting ones to be around ‘Exhibit B’, and the MA in Black British Writing, Performance and Drama.
My journalistic curiosity began to bubble.
Today, you can read my finished article published in The Voice newspaper on Thursday 4th December, by clicking here.