Never too black; The significance of authentic representation in writing
This panel session delves into the vital importance of embracing and showcasing Black voices and experiences in literature. Chaired by James Barber, a panel of authors including Dean Atta, Bolu Babalola and Temi Oh share their journeys and perspectives on authentic representation. Discover the transformative power of stories that truthfully depict Black characters, cultures and narratives. Through engaging discussions, we explore how authentic representation fosters understanding, challenges stereotypes and amplifies Black voices. This event celebrates the diversity and richness of Black storytelling and highlights the necessity of inclusion and representation in all forms of writing. Join us as we celebrate authenticity, unity and the power of embracing diverse perspectives in writing, in an enlightening conversation that amplifies the beauty of being Black and sparks positive change in the literary world. Chair James Barber is an intersectional, south London-based screenwriter known for his web series Flatshare. His writing combines grounded drama and comedy for adult and YA audiences. Barber explores the intersections of race, sexuality and neurodiversity in his works, including TV scripts, specs and shorts. Dean Atta is a young adult author and poet. Atta’s YA novels-in-verse, such as The Black Flamingo and Only on the Weekends, have earned him praise as one of poetry’s greatest modern voices. The Black Flamingo earned nominations for prestigious awards like the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and CILIP Carnegie Medal. A neuroscience graduate from King’s College London, Temi Oh brings her passion for science fiction to her works. Her debut novel, Do You Dream of Terra-Two?, earned acclaim from publications like The Guardian and Stylist, and was shortlisted for the Diverse Book Awards. British Nigerian ‘romcomoisseur’ Bolu Babalola is a master of love stories, writing captivating books, scripts, and culture pieces. Her short story collection, Love in Colour, became a Times bestseller, and her debut novel, Honey & Spice, was a Reese Witherspoon book club pick. She has also contributed cultural insights to publications including New York Magazine and Vogue.