UK Events

#DiversityInLit Conference 2019

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On Wednesday 20 November 2019, we’re launching our free #DiversityInLit Conference at Friends House in Euston, London, where we want to continue the debate around a need for greater diversity in literature, with you.

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Whether you’re a Pearson Edexcel centre or not, we want you and your Yr 10 and 11 English students to join us for a full day of celebrating diversity within different types of literature - poetry, prose and drama.

We’ll be debating the importance of diversity in the literature our young people study, hearing some of our new GCSE authors read from their works, and exploring what inspired them to read and write when they were younger.

Plus, we’ll be inviting you to pose your questions to our expert panel about the current levels of diverse voices and characters in the UK today and what we can all do to make a positive impact in promoting diversity in literature.

Visit our new training page and enter 'Diversity' in the search bar:

Book your place now


Agenda for the day

Welcome/arrivals 09:30 - 10:00am
Keynote from Ndidi Okezie, VP of Secondary Portfolio, UK Schools 10:00 - 10:30am
Speaker 1: Raymond Antrobus, poet and winner of the Rathbone Folio Prize 2019, Ted Hughes award 2019, PBS Winter Choice, Sunday Times & The Guardian Poetry Book of The Year 2018 and a Griffin Prize shortlist. Also, in 2018 he was awarded 'The Geoffrey Dearmer Prize.'  10:30 - 11:10am 
Speaker 2: Jamila Gavin, author of many short story collections, teenage novels and books for children aged six to 16 years, including Coram Boy (2000), The Blood Stone (2003) and Tales from India - Stories of Creation and the Cosmos (2011). 11:15 - 12:00pm
Lunch (please bring your own) 12:00 - 12:45pm 
Speaker 3: Tanika Gupta has written over 20 stage plays that have been produced in major theatres across the UK. She has written 30 radio plays for the BBC and several original television dramas, and has taught drama and led playwriting workshops in the UK and across the globe.  12:45 - 1:30pm 
Panel discussion and Live Q&A with Dr Deirdre Osbourne, Reader in English Literature and Drama at Goldsmiths University, London. 1:30 - 2:30pm 
Conference close  2:30 - 3:00pm 

Our speakers

For more information about our speakers, please see below:

Ndidi Okezie: Twitter, LinkedIn

Raymond Antrobus

Dr Deirdre Osbourne

Tanika Gupta has written for theatre, radio, film and television. Aside from the works published by Oberon Books, her stage plays include Voices On The Wind (NT Studio), Skeleton (Soho Theatre), On The Couch With Enoch (Red Room - BAC) and The Waiting Room (NT) which won the John Whiting Award. She has also translated Brecht's The Good Woman of Setzuan for the National Theatre Education Touring and written plays for Theatre Royal Stratford East's Young Actor's Company. Tanika is an Honorary Fellow at Rose Bruford College and was awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2008 for Services to Drama.

Visit her website

Jamila Gavin was born in Mussoorie, India, in the foothills of the Himalayas. With an Indian father and an English mother, she inherited two rich cultures, which ran side by side throughout her life and always made her feel she belonged to both countries.

The family finally settled in England where Jamila completed her schooling, was a music student, worked for the BBC and became a mother of two children. It was then that she began writing children’s books and felt a need to reflect the multi-cultural world in which she and her children now lived.

Since her first book, The Magic Orange Tree, was published in 1979, she has been writing steadily, producing collections of short stories, myths and legends, the last being Blackberry Blue: six original fairy tales. She has written several teenage novels, including The Surya Trilogy of which the first, The Wheel of Surya, was runner-up for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award in 1992 and is currently under option for a film adaptation, as is a later novel, The Robber Baron’s Daughter. Her book, Coram Boy was published to critical acclaim in 2000 and won the Children’s Whitbread Award, as well as being shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal.  Coram Boy went on to be adapted by Helen Edmundson for the National Theatre, where it had two successful runs, and is now much performed all over the world.

Jamila has written for television, radio and the stage. Her first original radio play, The God at The Gate was broadcast on Radio 4. She adapted her children’s books, Monkey in the Stars and Just So, for the Polka Theatre, as well as dramatising her book Grandpa Chatterji for Channel 4 Schools in an adaptation that starred Roshan Seth and Saeed Jaffrey.  

She has since enjoyed writing further stage plays, like Wherever I Lay Down My Head for the charity Coram, Razia Sultan for the National Youth Theatre and Love Lies Bleeding for the Jenny Wren Theatre Company in Cheltenham.

Jamila has lived in Gloucestershire for over 40 years. She is a regular visitor to the schools and libraries all over the country, as well as tutoring for the Arvon courses.

Full list of publications available on request.

For further information, please contact:

Literary agent:
Veronique Baxter,
David Higham Associates Ltd.
7–12 Noel St, Soho, London W1F 8GQ

Theatre and Media: 
Christine Glover
3rd Floor, 7 Savoy Ct, Strand, London WC2R 0EX

Visit her website >