September - October 2018

Unwritteninvites poets from the international Caribbean diaspora to tell the story of the Caribbean men who fought alongside the British army in the First World War, using words that went unwritten at the time.

In 1915, Britain’s War Office agreed to accept the first volunteers from the West Indies. A total of 15,600 men eventually joined the British West Indian Regiment’s 11 battalions during the First World War. However, these soldiers’ stories remain largely unheard – and while the wealth of First World War poetry has had a profound impact on our perceptions of the conflict, very little of it addresses or is drawn from the war’s impact on the Caribbean men who served, their families and communities, and the relationship between the Caribbean and the UK in the decades that followed. Unwrittenconsiders what it means to be cast into and then omitted from a story or events, left voiceless on a cultural landscape that treasures self-expression.

As well as being performed in a special event in Birmingham on National Poetry Day, this new work will appear in an anthology Unwritten: Caribbean Poems After the First World Warpublished by Nine Arches Press. Like the soldiers themselves, the writers gathered here are connected to various countries, including Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, St Lucia and Guyana. They are Karen McCarthy Woolf, Jay Bernard, Malika Booker, Kat Francois, Jay T. John, Ishion Hutchinson, Charnell Lucien, Vladimir Lucien and Tanya Shirley.

Unwrittenwill also be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 as part of the Contains Strong Language festival 2018.

Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, BBC Contains Strong Language and the British Council

More Birmingham Listings MORE

Birmingham Thursday 21 March - Thursday 5 December

Poetry Jam Live!

Since 2013, Poetry Jam has opened its doors every first Thursday of the month, and has grown in love, attendance…

Birmingham Saturday 13 July

‘Without’ by Neil Reidman

Without’ by Neil Reidman A one man show starting in the Windrush period to modern day, about a…

Birmingham Monday 9 September

Candice Brathwaite: Manifesto

Manifesting. Big Magic. The Law of Attraction – call it what you will, we have all heard of…

Birmingham Saturday 28 September

Black History Month Launch

Dive into the heart of Black History Month with our special launch event dedicated to celebrating the vast…