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24 May 2023

Windrush: Writing the Scandal

Wasafiri is excited to announce an afternoon of readings and conversation, Windrush: Writing the Scandal, which will take place live in partnership with Black Cultural Archives at their space on Windrush Square, London on 24 June 2023.

Windrush: Writing the Scandal

What does it mean to write the story of an ongoing catastrophe? In honour of the 75th anniversary of HMT Empire Windrush’s docking and in conjunction with Refugee Week, Wasafiri and Black Cultural Archives invite you to the launch of Wasafiri 114 – ‘Windrush: Writing the Scandal’, an essential collection of important, informed, and inspiring voices, edited by Henghameh Saroukhani and John McLeod. In the context of ongoing hostility against those ‘illegalised’ by the state, the poets, journalists, critics, artists, filmmakers, and activists gathered in the special issue demonstrate how advocacy and art intertwine in the midst of an unravelling political crisis.

This intimate event will explore the rebellious role of writing in our contemporary culture, featuring readings by Momtaza Mehri (poet, essayist, 2018 Young People’s Poet Laureate of London), Ira Mathur (award-winning journalist and OCM Bocas Prize winner for non-fiction, 2023), and James Goodwin (poet and PhD candidate at Birkbeck, University of London), who will all be in conversation with Dr Henghameh Saroukhani (Assistant Professor in Black British Literature, Durham University). The event pays tribute to the legacy of those pioneering Windrush migrants while complicating what it means to commemorate in the context of continuing state antagonism. Together, we turn to creativity and writing in search of new forms of solidarity and resistance.

When: Saturday 24 June 2023, 2.30-5.30pm GMT

Where: Black Cultural Archives, 1 Windrush Square, London SW2 1EF

Tickets: Full price £12, with options down to £0. Pay what you can afford.

Access: The Black Cultural Archives building is fully accessible. This event will have British Sign Language Interpretation. If you have queries about access please contact BCA at , or Elizabeth at Wasafiri at 

About the panelists:

Henghameh Saroukhani is Assistant Professor in Black British Literature at Durham University. She has published widely on contemporary black British and black Atlantic literatures and is co-editor of a recent special issue on the late Andrea Levy (ARIEL, 2022). She is completing a book on twenty-first-century black British writing and visual culture alongside a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) funded archival project on the docking of the SS Empire Windrush from new materialist perspectives.

Momtaza Mehri is a poet and independent researcher working across criticism, translation, anti-disciplinary research practices, education, and radio. She is a former Young People’s Poet Laureate for London and Frontier-Antioch Fellow at Antioch University (Los Angeles). A former Columnist-in-Residence at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Open Space, she has also completed residencies at St. Paul’s Cathedral and the British Library.


James Goodwin is a poet undertaking a PhD in English and Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London. His publications are aspects caught in the headspace we’re in: composition for friends (Face Press, 2020), Fleshed Out For All The Corners Of The Slip (the87press, 2021), and Faux Ice (Materials, 2022).


Ira Mathur is a multimedia journalist & Trinidad Guardian’s longest-running columnist. In 2016 she studied Creative Writing in London at the UEA/Guardian with James Scudamore, Gillian Slovo, and Maggie Gee at the Faber Academy. Mathur holds degrees in Philosophy and Law and an MA in Journalism. Her memoir Love The Dark Days (Peepal Tree Press) was published in 2022.


Order Wasafiri 114 here to receive your copy in advance of the event. Copies will also be on sale on the day. All proceeds from ticket sales will support our work as a charity and magazine of international contemporary writing, and of Black Cultural Archives, who collect, preserve and celebrate the histories of people of African and Caribbean descent in the UK.

We expect that this event will sell out, so make sure to book in advance, and if you are unable to attend, please let us know as soon as possible so that your place can be offered to someone else. If you are trying to book and the event is sold out, email to be added to the waiting list.

We are looking forward to spending time engaging in rich conversation, soaking up the work of our talented panelists, and celebrating the launch of this special issue with you.

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