From the anti-war and civil rights movements to feminist and LGBT activism, this series puts focus on the women poets who played a crucial role in the seismic social and political change of 1968, 50 years on. This performance brings together voices from across generations, nations and disciplines to celebrate the work of one of the most prolific and profound poets of the 20th and 21st centuries: Maya Angelou.
Through her poetry and activism, Maya Angelou healed a nation, transforming the narrative around race and identity politics at a personal and global scale. 50 years since the seismic Civil Rights events of 1968, join us to celebrate the extraordinary impact of this phenomenal woman for a night of discussion, poetry performances and live music.
Featuring Angelou’s UK editor Lennie Goodings, writer and broadcaster Afua Hirsch, readings by actress Sheila Atim (Girl from the North Country) and some of London’s finest young jazzers led by Miryam Solomon.
Lennie Goodings is the chair at Virago publishing, a company she worked at for over 20 years. During this time Lennie Goodings was Maya Angelou’s UK editor, as well as many other leading female writers discovered by Virago, a publisher with a mission to champion women’s voices and bring them to the widest possible readership around the world. Lennie will be opening our show with an introduction to the life of Maya Angelou as well as sharing her own favourite personal memories of the poet.
Afua Hirsch is a writer, broadcaster, barrister and human rights development worker of Ghanaian, English and Jewish heritage. She is the Social Affairs and Education Editor for Sky News and was previously a correspondent for the British newspaper The Guardian. Following on from Afua’s article about Maya Angelou’s influence on millions of young women, Afua will be exploring the enduring legacy of Maya Angelou on women for generations to come.
Sheila Atim played Marianne Laine in Girl from the North Country (Old Vic & Noël Coward Theatre), for which, at the time of writing, she has received Olivier and Evening Standard Award nominations and a Critics' Choice Award. Recent theatre credits include Babette’s Feast (Coronet Printroom); The Tempest, Henry IV and Julius Ceasar as part of the Shakespeare Trilogy (Donmar Warehouse); Hopelessly Devoted (Paines Plough) and Les Blancs (National Theatre). Sheila’s television credits include I Live With Models and the upcoming second series of Harlots.Miryam Solomon is a London based singer/songwriter, by way of Sweden and Eritrea. She released her debut EP Evergreen in 2014 and returns with Women Make Music award funded Magnolia featuring contributions from artists such as Jean Berthon and Shabaka Hutchings and support from Jamie Cullum, Jazz FM and NTS. Leading a group of London’s finest young jazzers, Miryam will be brining to life the sounds of Maya Angelou’s America.
Part of The Dream of a Common Language: The Women Poets Who Changed 1968 series in partnership with Virago.