Author: Dzifa Benson

Man Booker Prize 2017: Kamila Shamsie’s “Home Fire”

A novel like Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire – long listed for the Man Booker Prize – could not have existed ten years ago – even five years ago, at a push. For one thing, the Pakistani born author admits she wouldn’t have attempted to publish it before she became a British citizen in 2013. Mere weeks before that, the then Home Secretary Theresa May, had sent out vans to patrol London streets with slogans such as ‘Go Home or Face Arrest’ painted on their sides. In this alarming atmosphere and with the accompanying increase in racial profiling, Shamsie didn’t...

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Dancing While Black: In Conversation with Pauline Mayers

For most of her life, dancer, choreographer, and theatre-maker Pauline Mayers has had to battle prejudiced notions of her artistic abilities based on her race, gender, and status. Her innate and fierce determination has seen off these assumptions at every turn even when wider society lagged far behind in its attitude to such issues. Now, in her new show, What If I Told You, she combines her love of both dance and theatre. Mayers sets out her life story, while drawing parallels with that of controversial nineteenth-century gynaecologist James Sims. In this new production she continues to defy expectations...

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Spoken Word vs Fake News: In Conversation with Francesca Beard

Francesca Beard has returned to the stage with her first full-length show after a ten-year absence. How to Survive a Post-Truth Apocalypse combines storytelling, verse, spoken word, benign audience interaction, and a game of “Whose Lie is it Anyway” to contemplate lies, lying, and liars. The show explores make-believe in its many guises from political spin, lies told out of kindness, and bold-faced whoppers. In other words, it’s a show about what it means to be human. Since 1999, Beard has been an innovative promoter and performer of live poetry and has toured Europe, Asia, and South America with...

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