Black British Authors of the Future to be Published in Free ‘Short Story Stations’ Throughout Black History Month – 04.10.21

Award-winning author, poet and activist Bernardine Evaristo has joined forces with Canary Wharf to make short stories from up and coming black authors available for free to thousands of people throughout Black History Month.

The Booker Prize winner has selected five black authors to have their stories published in Canary Wharf’s Short Story Stations – the innovative vending machines that will dispense one, three and five minute stories for free to help raise the profile of black writers.

The spotlight is being shone on black authors for the month of October and is part of Bernardine Evaristo’s ‘Black Britain Writing Back’ campaign to give black authors the recognition they deserve. It is hoped the initiative will help give exciting black authors the platform to showcase their work, as currently there is not a single black author represented in the top 50 bestselling books in the UK.

The authors featured in the stations are Paul Mendez, Irenosen Okojie, Nicola Williams, Judith Bryan and S.I. Martin, and cover topics including race, class, sexuality, freedom and religion across generations, time and cultures. Live readings from the authors will also take place later this month at Canary Wharf. The Short Story Stations will also publish an extract from Bernardine Evaristo’s new book, Manifesto released this week.

Bernardine Evaristo said: “This is such an innovative opportunity at Canary Wharf to shine the spotlight on black authors I admire and are deserving of a wider readership. Some of the chosen stories are part of my curated series with Penguin called ‘Black Britain: Writing Back’, and I hope that all of these writers find new readers. Great literature transcends all perceived boundaries and are for everyone.”

Camilla Mcgregor, Arts+Events Planner, Canary Wharf Group, said: “The Short Story Stations at Canary Wharf are the first of their kind in the UK, having first gained popularity in the US, France and Hong Kong, with thousands of stories  printed on recycled paper and read each week. Thousands of people visit Canary Wharf each month, which is a huge platform to showcase writing talent, so we’re proud to be able to play our part in helping Bernardine Evaristo put the spotlight on black authors to help them get the recognition they deserve.”


  • Bernardine Evaristo, Manifesto – An excerpt from the upcoming powerful, urgent manifesto on never giving up 
  • Paul Mendez, Rainbow Milk – An intersectional coming-of-age story, following a nineteen-year-old grappling with his racial and sexual identities
  • Irenosen Okojie, Nudibranch – A mysterious tailor makes fantastic frocks for his clients.
  • Nicola Williams, Without Prejudice – A gripping courtroom thriller following barrister Lee Mitchell as she uncovers the dark secrets of the obscenely rich
  • Judith Bryan, Bernard and the Cloth Monkey – A shattering portrayal of family, guilt and unshakable bonds as a family’s deepest secrets explosively unravel
  • I. Martin, Incomparable World – A visceral reimagining of 1780s London, showcasing the untold stories of African-American soldiers grappling with their post-war freedom

The ‘Black Britain Writing Back’ short stories are amongst a series of initiatives taking place throughout Black History Month at Canary Wharf. Other activities include ‘Born to Protest’ dance performances from Joseph Toonga’s Just Us Dance Theatre  and a photography exhibition with the Association of Photographers (AOP) exploring ‘Black Culture in Britain’.

The Born to Protest dance performance takes place on Wednesday 13 October and the photography exhibition is open throughout October.

Black Britain: Writing Back, 1-31 October

Bernardine Evaristo has joined forces with Canary Wharf to make short stories from up and coming black authors available for free to thousands of people throughout Black History Month.

Black Culture in Britain, 1-31 October

Canary Wharf and the Association of Photographers have come together to create a photography exhibition exploring black culture in Britain

Born to Protest, 13 October

Joseph Toonga’s Just Dance Theatre deliver an important message with an energizing soundscape featuring Hip Hop beats and voice over

For full details of all activites please visit:

For further information, please contact:

Press Office
Canary Wharf Group plc
T: 020 7418 2166


Notes to Editors

About the authors

Bernardine Evaristo

Bernardine Evaristo, MBE, is the award-winning author of eight books of fiction and verse fiction that explore aspects of the African diaspora. Her novel Girl, Woman, Other made her the first black woman to win the Booker Prize in 2019, as well winning the Fiction Book of the Year Award at the British Book Awards in 2020, where she also won Author of the Year, and the Indie Book Award. She also became the first woman of colour and black British writer to reach No.1 in the UK paperback fiction chart in 2020. Her writing spans reviews, essays, drama and radio, and she has edited and guest-edited national publications, including The Sunday Time’s Style magazine. Her other awards and honours include an MBE in 2009. Bernardine is Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University, London, and Vice Chair of the Royal Society of Literature. She lives in London with her husband.

Paul Mendez

Paul Mendez is a London-based novelist, essayist and screenwriter. Born in 1982 and raised Jehovah’s Witness in the Black Country, Mendez disassociated himself from the Witnesses while still a teenager. In 2020, Dialogue Books published Rainbow Milk, which featured in the Observer’s prestigious Top Ten Debut Novels list and was shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize. He has contributed to The London Review of Books, Esquire, The Face, Vogue, the Times Literary Supplement and the Brixton Review of Books, and is currently reading the MA in Black British Literature at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Nicola Williams

Nicola Williams started her career as a barrister in private practice, specialising in Criminal Law, including three successful Commonwealth death penalty appeals before the House of Lords sitting as the Privy Council. She was a legal expert on BBC World for the OJ Simpson trial verdict in 1995 and a member of the first Independent Advisory Group to the Metropolitan Police Service (following recommendations arising from the Stephen Lawrence Report [1999]). She has been a part-time Crown Court Judge since 2010. A former winner of Cosmopolitan magazine Woman of Achievement Award, she is an active volunteer for the Speakers for Schools programme, a charity which encourages young people from disadvantaged and under-represented communities to enter the professions.

Irenosen Okojie 

Irenosen Okojie is an experimental Nigerian British author whose works push the boundaries of ideas, form and language. Her books Butterfly FishSpeak Gigantular and Nudibranch have won and been shortlisted for multiple awards. Her writing has been featured in The New York Times, the Observer, the Guardian, the BBC and the Huffington Post. Her short story, Grace Jones won the 2020 AKO Caine Prize. A fellow and Vice Chair of The Royal Society of Literature, she was awarded an MBE For Services to Literature in 2021. 

Judith Bryan

Judith Bryan is an award winning writer, playwright and academic. Her debut novel, Bernard and the Cloth Monkey, won the 1998 Saga Prize and was republished by Penguin in February 2021 for the Black Britain: Writing Back series, curated and with a new introduction by Booker-prize winner Bernardine Evaristo. Her short fiction and non-fiction have been published in various anthologies and magazines. Her play, ‘A Cold Snap’, was shortlisted for the Alfred Fagon Award 2008, produced in 2011 as Keeping Mum. Judith is a Hawthornden Fellow, and recently received a Royal Society of Literature Award, with Carol Russell, for their project ‘Raised Voices: recovering the voices and vision of black women playwrights over 45’. She is currently completing her second novel.

S I Martin

Specialising in the fields of Black British history and literature, S I Martin is a writer and heritage consultant who has undertaken projects and curated exhibitions for numerous organisations including the National Archives, English Heritage, the National Maritime Museum, the Museum of London, the education and archive departments of several London boroughs and the BBC. He is the author of the novel Incomparable World and the non-fiction title Britain’s Slave Trade. He is the founder of the 500 Years of Black London walking tours.

He has conducted writing and historical research projects in several universities worldwide. His novels for younger readers include Jupiter Williams and Jupiter Amidships.

About Canary Wharf Group:

Canary Wharf Group (CWG) is the developer of the largest urban regeneration project in Europe. CWG develops, manages and currently owns interests in approximately 7.7 million square feet of office space, 0.9 million square feet of retail and over 1,000 Build to Rent apartments.

CWG is the largest sustainable developer in the UK with over 11 million square feet of sustainable certified buildings. CWG also excels operationally having purchased 100% electricity from renewable sources since 2012 and zero waste to landfill since 2009.

CWG has created a 24/7 city where people can live/work/play on the Canary Wharf estate and enjoy all the benefits: great transport links, access to green spaces and waterside living; and a wide range of amenities including an award-winning arts and events programme.

Canary Wharf’s retail offering comprises over 300 shops, including grocery stores, pharmacies, health clubs, bars and restaurants, all within 15 minutes’ walk.
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