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Ernest Alanki, Irenosen Okojie, Yvette Edwards and Alex Wheatle


Acclaimed author Alex Wheatle hosted an evening introducing three fresh voices on the literary scene.

Fresh Voices, a new platform to showcase emerging writers was held on Monday 22 October, 2012 at Clapham Library in the Mary Seacole Centre. The evening event brought together writers Ernest Alanki, author of The Chocolate Shop Perverts, Yvette Edwards author of A Cupboard Full of Coats, and writer Irenosen Okojie author of the short story The Thumbnail Interruptions.

The writers who are all at different stages in their careers shared with the audience how they began writing, how the process had helped them and their hopes for the future.

Cameroon born Ernest Alanki, explained that to have his first book published was a “dream come true”. He published his book as an ebook through HopeRoad Publishing. During the talk Alanki expressed how much the writing process had helped him deal with a lot of issues he had while growing up as a child.

Yvette Edwards, of Montserratian parentage, whose debut novel A Cupboard Full of Coats, was long listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2011. The passage she read from her book showed how highly descriptive and imaginative her writing is.

Explaining her writing style to the audience she said: “I see my style as sneaked in realism, adding the Black British experience with a touch of humour.”

Irenosen Okojie, who has been writing seriously for the past five years, recently secured a literary agent. She described her writing style as ‘magic realism’ and explained that she was particularly interested in putting a different spin on old stories.

The writers each shared how therapeutic the process of writing was for them and how writing evoked their experiences growing up. Edwards shared how her life experiences and her family’s Caribbean origins helped ‘flavoured her writing and characters’, arousing many senses of food and culture. Both Okojie and Alanki shared how their experiences and culture had also enhanced their writing experience.

Mr Wheatle hopes that Fresh Voices will be an annual event to profile talented writers. He explained: “I want this to be a regular feature as I know how hard it was for me to get a leg up in the publishing world. So if I can introduce new writers who I think are very talented then for me that is paying back a contribution to the writing community.”

Author Alex wheatle

As for advice for aspiring writers all authors echoed the words “Keep writing!”.

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