Books / Black History Month

Words of Colour announce Irenosen Okojie as writer in residence

By joe melia, Thursday Sep 19, 2019

Creative communications agency, Words of Colour, who expanded to Bristol in 2018, have announced award-winning writer Irenosen Okojie as their first Bristol-based writer in residence.

Okojie, whose debut short story collection, Speak Gigantular was shortlisted for a number of awards including the Edgehill Short Story Prize, the Jhalak Prize, the Saboteur Awards, and the Shirley Jackson Award, will take up the residency for Black History Month in October. With the support of Words of Colour, the project aims to identify talented writers, particularly women, and to uncover hidden black history in Bristol.

The residency will take place at Junction 3 Library in Easton, St Paul’s Community Centre, and at the Galleries branch of Waterstones. There will be a writers’ workshop for women of colour, one-to-one drop in sessions, and the residency will close with a free In Conversation… event with Okojie at Waterstones where she will discuss the month-long project. The Waterstones event will also celebrate the launch of her much-anticipated new short story collection Nudibranch, published by Dialogue Books.

At the end of the residency, Okojie will produce a specially commissioned piece of writing, which will feature exclusively on Words of Colour’s website.

Okojie said of the residency: “I’m thrilled to do this residency as part of Words of Colour’s fantastic programme of development for writers at all levels. I’m excited to engage with Bristol’s thriving creative communities, in particular the voices of women of colour. I want to hear their stories, and to encourage and support them in a political climate where the power of artistic expression feels more necessary than ever.”

Joy Francis, executive director of Words of Colour, said: “Irenosen Okojie is one of the most original and bold voices in British literature today, so it is befitting for her to be our first ever Writer in Residence. Irenosen is not only a writer, but a literary activist who is passionate about supporting other writers of colour, which is also our mission. As we are based in two creative cities – London and Bristol – her long-standing interest in Bristol’s history is an added bonus.”

Edouard Gallais, events manager at Waterstones Bristol Galleries who are co-hosting the residency added: “We’re very happy and excited to continue the partnership between Words of Colour and Waterstones Bristol, to bring more inclusive and outstanding authors to meet our local community.”

For more information on Irenosen Okojie’s residency, visit

Read more: Agency for writers of colour expands to Bristol

Main photo credit: David Kwaw Mensah

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