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Khairani Barokka is an Indonesian writer, poet, and artist whose work has been presented extensively, in fifteen countries. She is a PhD by practice researcher in Goldsmiths’ Visual Cultures Department and Modern Poetry in Translation’s Inaugural Poet/Translator-In-Residence.
Okka is the recipient of seven residencies and multiple grants. She was an NYU Tisch Departmental Fellow and is a UNFPA Indonesian Young Leader Driving Social Change for arts practice and research. She is most recently author of Rope (Nine Arches) and author-illustrator of Indigenous Species (Tilted Axis).
The Repeat Beat Poet (Peter deGraft-Johnson) has appeared across the UK and internationally, with poetic, theatrical, and musical performances at The Royal Albert Hall, Battersea Arts Centre, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, and at festivals including the Edinburgh Fringe, Brainchild, Wilderness, and at protests and pickets. PJ also produces and hosts the monthly spoken word nights Boomerang and Pen-Ting, appears as a house emcee with Hip Hop label Imaginary Millions, and hosts the spoken word/Hip Hop radio show, the #RepeatBeatBroadcast. In 2019 PJ was nominated for a Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship, and was selected for the BBC Words First poetry programme.
Clarissa Pabi is a multi-award-winning marketeer, producer and content manager, listed on the inaugural FutureBook40 list. She graduated from Oxford University and spent over 7 years working in marketing and creating global bestsellers at publishers like Penguin Random House and Bonnier Books. Clarissa sits on the advisory board for Creative Access and The Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival. She works on various creative on audio-visual projects and transmedia publishing projects via her creative network and agency, The Architexts. She is passionate about representing underrepresented voices in publishing, podcasting and storytelling and regularly mentors young professionals and aspiring writers and podcasters. She works as UK Content Manager at Acast, the world’s largest podcast company.
Irenosen Okojie is a Nigerian British writer. Her debut novel Butterfly Fish won a Betty Trask award and was shortlisted for an Edinburgh International First Book Award. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, the Observer, the Guardian, the BBC and the Huffington Post amongst other publications. Her short story collection Speak Gigantular , published by Jacaranda Books, was shortlisted for the Edgehill Short Story Prize, the Jhalak Prize, the Saboteur Awards and nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award. She as recently inducted as a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature as one of the Forty Under Forty initiative.
Abir Mukherjee is the Times bestselling author of the Sam Wyndham series of crime novels set in Raj era India. His debut, A Rising Man, won the CWA Endeavour Dagger for best historical crime novel of 2017 and was shortlisted for the MWA Edgar for best novel. His second novel, A Necessary Evil, won the Wilbur Smith Award for Adventure Writing and was a Zoe Ball Book Club pick. His third novel, Smoke and Ashes, was chosen by the Sunday Times as one of the 100 Best Crime & Thriller Novels since 1945. Abir grew up in Scotland and now lives in London with his wife and two sons.
Kelechi Okafor is an actor, director, writer and podcaster with over 80k followers across social media. Her essay ‘Saying My Mind’ was published in the Sunday Times Bestseller It’s Not Ok To Feel Blue and Other Lies by Scarlett Curtis. She has regularly appeared on the BBC has a commentator and presenter and writes regularly for publications like the Metro. She has collaborated with brands such as Nike and the V&A on projects to empower marginalised groups. Her podcast Say Your Mind is the no.1 podcast hosted by a Black British woman.
Ashley Hickson-Lovence is a poet and novelist from Hackney. While working as a secondary school English teacher, he completed his MA in Creative Writing and Publishing from City, University of London part-time and is currently completing his PhD in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of East Anglia. His debut novel The 392, set almost entirely on a London bus, was released with OWN IT! In 2019. He is currently working on his second novel The B Word is Black.
Sam Missingham spends her time championing books and pressing them into people’s hands. She previously worked at HarperCollins UK for 3 years as head of audience development, running large-scale marketing campaigns that connect books and authors with readers. She also worked at industry trade magazine, The Bookseller for 5 years. She ran their conferences, awards, marketing and was the co-founder of FutureBook. She is the founder of Lounge Books and The Empowered Author.
Jen Campbell is a bestselling author and award-winning poet.She worked as a bookseller for ten years and runs a Youtube channel where she talks about books, the history of fairy tales, and the representation of disfigurement. She has a podcast, runs online writing workshops, offers editorial services and give talks at schools, universities and book festivals. She runs a book club for TOAST, discusses books monthly on BBC Radio 5 Live, and is Vlogger in Residence for the Poetry Book Society.
Leena Norms is a poet, podcaster, presenter and book activist. She has had 4 million+ views to date on her book-themed YouTube channel. She has been recognised as one of Youtube’s Creators for Change, was a Booksellers Rising Star in 2016 and won the London Bookfair’s Trailblazer Award in 2019. She has worked for Icon Books, Penguin Random House, Telegraph Books, Pan Macmillan and currently produces and presents The Vintage Books Podcast for Penguin Random House. Her chart-topping podcast “I’m Not Being Funny But-” aims to explore and attempt to answer questions that people “pretend to know the answers to or didn’t think to ask”, and covers a range of topics relating to social change and activism.
Bethany Rutter is a journalist, blogger and editor who writes about fat bodies, plus size fashion and body politics including the benefits and limitations of body positivity. She works in marketing at a plus-size fashion brand and is an occasional DJ. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian, Telegraph Magazine, Vogue, and others. She co-hosts the podcast What Page Are You On? with Alice Slater and is the author of Plus+, a coffee table book offering style inspiration for everyone. Her debut novel No Big Deal is “an iconic love song to everyone out there who knows that life isn’t one size fits all’.
Simon Savidge is the man behind Savidge Reads. Heralding from the Peak District, where he comes from a long line of Book Lovers, Simon is a book addict. He was previously the travel and lifestyle editor of a UK mens magazine. Simon is the co-founder and Honorary Director of The Green Carnation Prize (for LGBT writing) in association with Foyles. In 2013 he became one of the judges on the inaugural panel of The Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize, was the inaugural Guest Editor for Fiction Uncovered and one of the judges for Fiction Uncovered 2015. He runs events and partnerships for the Central Library in Liverpool and is the Chair of the Portico Prize.
Alice Slater is a writer, editor, podcaster, and former bookseller from London. She co-hosts literary podcast What Page Are You On? with Bethany Rutter, reviews short story collections for Mslexia and hosts the Waterstones Gower Street Short Story Salon. She has an MA in Creative Writing from UEA and her fiction has appeared in Dear Damsels, On Anxiety (3 of Cups) and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. She tweets like a trooper and her book threads are regular weekend delight.
Sanne Vliegenthart has built her career online, through her YouTube channel ‘booksandquills’, her role as social media producer for publisher Penguin and now as a freelance digital producer, content creator and public speaker. Sanne started her channel while studying in the Netherlands, but has since moved to London. In her videos she talks about her favourite books, the publishing industry, translation, travel and career advice. Sanne was one of the winners of YouTube’s NextUp Europe competition in 2011, has been a speaker at VidCon Europe, Cheltenham Literature Festival and the London Book Fair and has interviewed authors and actors from Angie Thomas to Saoirse Ronan. Her upcoming podcast The Pro/Con List will be a guide to mapping out your life, standing your ground, and finally finishing that project.
Stephanie Yeboah is a plus-size style blogger and body confidence advocate from London with a penchant for graphic novels, photography and the love of her life, Jason Momoa. She is a multi-award-nominated blogger who has been writing for over 10 years, and has appeared on Sky News, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio London, LBC and BBC Radio 5 live sharing her expert opinion on body confidence, and has written for several publications including Refinery29, Stylist and the Guardian.