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Destiny Ekaragha once said that Black British filmmakers were not expected to make films about ordinary family stories and everyday things – like love. This segment foregrounds the transformative nature of the everyday feeling of love in art, writing, and research, while it also helps us to think about how the concept of love is defined, understood, and restricted, if love is understood and represented in limited ways. The free, online events in this segment consider the expression, meaning, contexts, and impact of love by exploring the work of artists, writers and thinkers, emphasising questions of gender, sexuality, race, and culture.

The segment begins with a conversation between Eve Makis and Young Adult fiction writer Nicola Garrard, whose novel about love and canal journeys 29 Locks was recently published by HopeRoad, one of the publishers that we work with very often at the Postcolonial Studies Centre. Later in the segment, we are very excited to welcome Ferdinand Dennis to NTU. His on-campus event with Black Writing in Britain students and book signing will be recorded for a special film event for Formations. Other events in the segment include Formations ‘visits’ to Becky Cullen’s WRAP (Writing, Reading and Pleasure) to join her event with writer Musa Okwonga. In addition, Tom Lockwood-Moran hosts a fascinating book reading and discussion event on the Power of Queer Caribbean Love with Indo-Trinidadian poet Shivanee Ramlochan.

The Formations programme is an online series of free, public events led by the Postcolonial Studies Centre at Nottingham Trent University in collaboration with Bonington Gallery. The series foregrounds the work of underrepresented writers, academics, artists, intellectuals and activists worldwide who address inequalities of all kinds, often bringing people from different places and working practices together for important conversations.

Young Adult fiction writer Nicola Garrard in conversation with Eve Makis

Tuesday 1 February 2022, 6.30  7.30 pm

This free event is a must for anyone who reads Young Adult fiction or has an interest in writing for young people. Nicola Garrard will be talking about her Young Adult novel, 29 Locks, an unflinching depiction of urban teen life in London. The book was shortlisted in the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize and the Mslexia Children’s Novel Competition. She will be reading from the book and answering audience questions. Hosted by Eve Makis.

You can purchase Nicola Garrard’s newly published novel online.

Watch on Bonington Gallery’s YouTube channel.

Research Seminar: Jennifer Leetsch on Love and Space in Contemporary African Diasporic Women’s Writing

Wednesday 9 February 2022, 1 – 2 pm

Formations is joining NTU’s English Research Seminar series to welcome researcher Jennifer Leetsch who will talk about her recently published book, Love and Space in Contemporary African Diasporic Women’s Writing.

The book combines careful literary analyses with in-depth discussions of cultural and socio-historical contexts by considering the world-making powers of the old novel form in the third millennium as well as the formative effect of new digital media.

Email Jenni Ramone to reserve your free place. You’ll be sent a link to the Teams meeting and further instructions on how to join.

The Power of Queer Caribbean Love: A Reading and Discussion Event with Shivanee Ramlochan

Wednesday 16 February 2022, 6 – 7.30 pm

Bonington Gallery and NTU’s Postcolonial Studies Centre warmly invite all queer lovers, and allied others, to a belated valentine date: diving the depths with Indo-Trinidadian poet Shivanee Ramlochan. The evening will include readings from Ramlochan’s striking first collection, Everyone Knows I am a Haunting (2017), plus exclusive new writing, and a discussion contextualising queerness and literary Caribbeanness, with NTU literary researcher Thomas Lockwood-Moran (Midlands4Cities-funded doctoral candidate). This discussion seeks to invoke public engagement, which will be heartily welcomed, to empower an exploration of queer love —love of others and crucial self-love. Never avoiding the harsh global realities of oppression and its traumas experienced by queer persons, always multiplied for queer persons of colour, this event will consider the literary throb of Ramlochan’s queer heart as a stalwart shield against colonial oppressions past, present and into the future.

The first 20 Eventbrite sign-ups for this event will receive a free copy of Ramlochan’s stunning poetic spectre Everyone Knows I am a Haunting (2017).

All Eventbrite sign-ups will receive a 20% discount code for Ramlochan’s poetry collection via Pepal Tree Press.

Watch on Bonington Gallery’s YouTube channel.

Creative Writing Workshop: How do I write thee…? – A workshop on writing ‘Love’ with Nora Nadjarian. Led by Eve Makis

Wednesday 23 February 2022, 6.30 – 8 pm

Let us find the ways in which fresh perspectives can make love intimate or silly, surprising or sexy, romantic or sarcastic in our writing. In this generative workshop we will be looking at examples of contemporary poetry and flash fiction that will dispel any clichés and energise rehashed ideas you may have on the subject. You will be given prompts to write your unique pieces.

Open to all skill levels.

Creative Writing Workshop: How do I write thee…? (Part 2) – A workshop on writing ‘Love’ with Nora Nadjarian. Led by Eve Makis

Tuesday 5 April 2022, 6.30 – 8 pm

Back by popular demand, Nora Nadjarian will be leading a second workshop on how to write about ‘love’. As before, you will be encouraged to approach the subject in fresh and surprising ways, and given prompts to write your unique pieces. The generative workshop will give insight into contemporary poetry and short fiction and energise rehashed ideas you may have on the subject of “love”.

Open to all skill levels, and limited to 20 participants.

Empowerment Doll-making workshop with artist Rita Kappia

Saturday 19 March, 10:30 am – 12 noon

Following Rita’s hugely popular [online] doll-making workshop in 2021, we are very pleased to welcome Rita back to deliver an in person workshop. In this workshop, you can make your own Empowerment Doll using a range of common materials. Advance registration is required and all materials will be provided on the day. The workshop is open to all, and may be of particular interest to young people age 8-12; younger children supported by an adult; or adults and older children with an interest in dollmaking, textiles, fabrics, or art. All children under 16 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.

Places are limited to 20 participants.

Ferdinand Dennis on The Black and White Museum

Thursday 24 March 2022, 6 – 7.30 pm

In this free, livestreamed event, Formations audiences will be able to watch critically acclaimed author Ferdinand Dennis‘ visit to NTU English students from the ‘Black Writing in Britain’ module. Ferdinand will read from his newly published collection of short stories, The Black and White Museum, and discuss his work, life, and career.

From Ferdinand Dennis, the critically acclaimed author of the novel Duppy Conqueror, comes The Black and White Museum, a collection of both highly personal and universal short stories. These at their heart reveal the emotional drama of faded love, the loss of individual and shared memory and the wistful longing for home. His stories powerfully portray the black presence in post-Windrush London, with its hurtling gentrification and everyday racism. Ferdinand’s characters gain wisdom and maturity with age but become powerless, as they are less able to change the course of their lives. For some there is the temptation of a return “home” but home, like London, has also moved on and is not the paradise of their memories.

Watch on the Bonington Gallery YouTube channel.

WRAP Live! with Musa Okwonga

Tuesday 29 March 2022, 7 – 8.30 pm

Musa Okwonga joins Dr Becky Cullen for a discussion about his path from an Eton scholarship, Oxford and the Law, to being a Berlin-based writer with a passion for football. Musa will also be talking about poetry, music, and his fabulous new novel In the End, It Was All About Love. Published by Rough Trade, the book is our WRAP spring title and February’s Notts TV Book Club choice. They’ll also be talking about Musa’s football blog and podcast Stadio and Striking Out, his book collaboration with Arsenal legend Ian Wright

Watch WRAP Live with Musa Okwonga on YouTube.