Thu, 26 Oct 2023 19:00 - 21:30

Black History Month: The R.A.P. Party @The London Library (In person)

For Black History Month, poet and playwright Inua Ellams brings his exhilarating live literature phenomenon, the R.A.P Party, back to The London Library for a nostalgic, no-clutter, no-fuss, evening of music and words. This time we're shaking things up by swapping Rhythm and Poetry for Rhythm and Prose, with some of the brightest fiction and non-fiction stars in the literary firmament. And we’ll be spreading our musical wings beyond hip-hop and playing any kind of tune that will get you on your feet. Our line up includes: Christian AdofoOre Agbaje-WilliamsAniefiok EkpoudomInua EllamsDiana EvansOkechukwu Nzelu, Irenosen OkojieJohny Pitts, Lisa Smith, Varaidzo plus music from RAP Party regular, DJ Lily Fileen.

Ten writers + a DJ = the best night out you’ll ever have in a library – or anywhere, for that matter.

'A truly fluid literary event not just mingling poetry and music together seamlessly, but also bringing different tribes of poets: ages, races, gender, styles together. You will be moved in your heart and in your head.’— Roger Robinson

Christian Adofo is a writer, cultural curator and author. His writing looks at the intersection of heritage and identity in music and culture. His debut book, A Quick Ting On: Afrobeats, was published by Jacaranda in 2022.

Ore Agbaje-Williams is a British-Nigerian writer and editor from North London who has written for gal-demGlamour UK and Wasafiri magazine. Her fiction writing has also been featured on Reflex Fiction. Her first novel, The Three of Us was published this year.

Aniefiok Ekpoudom is a writer and storyteller from South London whose work documents community and culture in contemporary Britain. His debut book, Where We Come From: Rap, Home and Hope in Modern Britain, is a social history of British Rap, which will be published by Faber early next year. 

Inua Ellams is a Nigerian-born, UK-based poet, playwright and performer who has written for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and the BBC. His latest play was an adaptation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters set in Nigeria, staged at the National Theatre. The Actual, his fifth poetry release and first full collection, was published in 2020 by Penned in the Margins. 

Diana Evans is the bestselling author of A House for Alice, Ordinary PeopleThe Wonder and 26a. She won the inaugural Orange Award for New Writers and Ordinary People received the South Bank Sky Arts Award and was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Rathbones Folio Prize and the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction. 

Okechukwu Nzelu’s novels, The Private Joys of Nnenna and Here Again Now, have won or been nominated for numerous awards, including the Betty Trask, the Desmond Elliott Prize, the Polari Prize, the Jhalak Prize and the Diverse Book Awards. He is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Lancaster University.

Irenosen Okojie MBE is the author of a novel, Butterfly Fish, winner of a Betty Trask Award and two story collections: Speak Gigantular, shortlisted for the Jhalak and Edge Hill Short Story Prizes; and Nudibranch, longlisted for the Jhalak Prize. The story ‘Grace Jones’ won the 2020 AKO Caine Prize for African Writing.

Johny Pitts is a writer, photographer and broadcaster. He is the author of Afropean: Notes from Black Europe and co-author with Roger Robinson of Home Is Not A Place. He co-hosts Open Book for BBC Radio 4 and is the creator of the Afropean podcast.

Lisa Smith is a writer from South London. Her short story 'Auld Lang Syne' won the 2017 Guardian 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize and in 2020 she was selected to join The London Library Emerging Writers Programme. Her debut novel will be published by Dialogue in 2025.

Varaidzo is a contributor to the bestselling anthology The Good Immigrant and the romance anthology Who’s Loving You. Her short story ‘Bus Stop’ was shortlisted for the Guardian 4th Estate Prize 2018. Her debut novel, Manny and the Baby, will be published in April 2024.

Supported using funding from Fondation Jan Michalski

Books by the artists will be available to purchase at the event and online through our partner bookshop Hatchards.

N.B. This event will take place in person at The London Library in alignment with up-to-date government COVID recommendations. Please see our Event Access and COVID Guidelines before you arrive. Doors (and the bar) open at 6.30pm for a 7.00pm start. 

London Library events are subject to Terms and Conditions.