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Ben Okri to deliver keynote speech at Bare Lit festival

BARE LIT: Ben Okri will deliver the keynote speech at this year's festival

ACCLAIMED ESSAYIST, playwright, and poet Ben Okri will deliver the keynote speech at this year’s Bare Lit Festival.

The festival was created to combat the underrepresentation of authors from black Caribbean, black African, South Asian or East Asian backgrounds featured at literary festivals and celebrate the work of remarkable writers of colour.

Okri’s works have won numerous national and international prizes including the Booker Prize for Fiction, Aga Khan Prize for Fiction and Guardian Fiction Prize.

His latest book The Freedom Artist, released in 2019, depicts a world in which books have disappeared and old stories are kept in secret.

Okri takes up the mantle from last year’s Bare Lit keynote speaker, writer Nii Ayikwei Parkes, who was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize for his novel Tail of the Blue Bird (2009). Novelist Kerry Young delivered the keynote in 2017.

Bare Lit’s fourth edition features an innovative programme of readings, panels and performances, to share works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, playwriting and journalism.

Visitors will also be able to roam a marketplace which includes book and magazine stalls where festival-goers will add to make a collective poem, and Black Book Swap where attendees can share their favourites and pick up a new book for free.

Lit Kids, a section of the festival created for under-13s, will debut at Bare Lit this year. Th child-friendly programme will include illustration, storytelling, singing and a talk on the importance of kindness and activism.

The festival prides itself on tackling contemporary movements within arts and culture as well as broader political debates.

This year, Bare Lit will take place on May 4 and 5, at The Albany in south London.

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