Registration is now open for the very first International Black Speculative Writing Festival! This three-day in-person festival celebrates Black British and international speculative writers. It will be held at Goldsmiths University, London from February 2–4, 2024.

This festival is the first of its kind and founded by Kadija Sesay, British-Sierra Leonean writer and literary activist. Sesay commissioned Glimpse, the first Black British Speculative Fiction anthology in 2022. She is the co-founder of Mboka Festival of Arts Culture and Sport in The Gambia and has organized other festivals and symposiums over the past 20 years including Word From Africa at The British Museum and the Southbank as the pre-cursor to Africa Writes.

The festival is supported using public funding by Arts Council England and with the support of Prof. Deirdre Osborne and the Dept. of English and Creative Writing at Goldsmiths University.

Key guests include award-winning writer Karen Lord from Barbados; Reynaldo Anderson, co-founder of the Black Speculative Arts Movement and professor at Temple University; UK-based award winning writers Leone Ross and Courttia Newland.

The special event “Fassungslos” (German for ‘disconnected’ or ‘stunned’) features new speculative writing from Akila Richards and Claudia Monteith who use multi-art forms to explore the experience of mixed (European/African) heritage people, in partnership with the Black Speculative Arts Movement/Carnegie Hall.

The festival also includes a symposium with panel sessions by postgraduate researchers of speculative fiction, book clubs to introduce readers to speculative fiction, and readings from Black speculative writers around the globe including the first Black British speculative fiction anthology Glimpse, The Cuckoo Cage, and the winners of The Caine Prize for African Writing 2023, Mame Bougouma Diene and Woppa Diallo.

The weekend provides resources for writers to develop excellence in the speculative fiction genre and to encourage new readers through discussions, workshops for writers, readings, storytelling, networking, and a Top 50 recommended list of books. Family-oriented events include daytime storytelling sessions and an evening African masquerade performance.

The fest also includes a one-day online festival on February 4 with priority bookings for people who cannot attend the in-person festival due to distance or disability. Hosted by Sarah Ozo-Irabor literary critic, blogger and podcaster of Books and Rhymes and Writing our Legacy. The online festival is headlined by Sheree Renée Thomas, the first Black editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

Go here for the full programme.

Each ticket for the digital festival is £20 full price, or £10 for low-waged/unwaged peoples or students. To obtain tickets for the digital fest, please send proof of disability or distance status before booking to [email protected]. The bookings will open up to all on January 4 if there are spaces left.

The in-person festival costs £45 for the full weekend pass, £25 for full weekend for low-waged/unwaged peoples or students. Day passes are £15, while single workshops are £5.

We highly recommend you check out this exciting festival if you live in the area or qualify for the virtual version. Get tickets here.