Celebrating the Legacies of Black Ink

Desrie Thomson-George, co-founder of the Black Ink Collective, tells the Collective's story with readings and performances

An evening with Desrie Thomson-George, co-founder of the Black Ink Collective, who will tell its story with readings and performances by Kadija George Sesay , Sandra Agard, Jason Lee, Derek Owusu, and Stxkz to commemorate the 45th Anniversary of its birth.


In 1978, due to concerns about the lack of representation and the continued denial of Black writers’ existence, the Black Ink Collective was formed by eight young people, providing a platform for young Black Britons across the UK to write and have their work published.

Based in Brixton, Black Ink, the first of its kind, proved that it was possible to publish independently and paved the way for others. It was part of the wave of creativity that graced Britain in the ‘70s and ‘80s, as the first generation of post WWII young Black people came of age and were now having their voices heard. Join us for an evening of stories, poetry, verse and music.

Desrie Thomson-George: Desrie Thomson-George, is a Fine Artist, the Chair of Black Ink Legacy and Co-Founder of Black Ink Collective (1978-1987), the independent publishers which provided a platform for young Black Britons to write and be published. She has designed and produced children’s books and illustrations, was formerly the Head of Campaigns and Marketing at the Commission for Racial Equality where she devised and led national campaigns, including Visible Women, Global Words, and Race in the Media Awards (RIMA). Desrie created magazines including No Limits for girls (1997) and the first national Black History Month magazine – BHM Magazine (1999). She received the Candace Magazine International Black Women’s Achievement Award for Race Relations (1997) and a 2017 Surrey Sculpture Society prize. IG: desriethomsongeorge

Dr. Kadija George Sesay: Dr. Kadija George Sesay FRSA, Hon. FRSL, is a Sierra Leonean/British scholar and literary activist. She is the founder of SABLE LitMag, and a series editor at Peepal Tree Press where she also co-directs the Inscribe Professional Development Programme for Writers. She has compiled several anthologies for writers of African and Asian descent and has published her own work in anthologies too. She published Irki, a collection of poetry in 2013. Her second collection, The Modern Pan-Africanist’s Journey is forthcoming. She is a co-founder of Mboka Festival of Arts, Culture and Sport in The Gambia and founder of the AfriPoetTree app. She has received several awards for her work in the creative arts.

Sandra A. Agard: Sandra A. Agard has been a Professional Storyteller, Writer, Book Doctor, Cultural Historian and Literary Consultant for over forty years. She has performed and taught across the UK and internationally. She has written numerous plays, poems, short stories and has had work published in a variety of collections and anthologies. In October 2019, she published her first children’s book entitled, Trailblazers – Harriet Tubman: A Journey to Freedom by Stripes Publishing. Other titles include: The Bristol Bus Boycott: A Fight for Racial Justice, Amazing Women in Black History, To The Moon and Back: The Story of Katherine Johnson, The Lion Keeper. She has also co-edited with Laila Sumpton: Where We Find Ourselves: Poems and Stories of Maps and Mapping. In April, her latest book entitled The Drum-Maker and the Aziza – a retelling of The Elves and the Shoemaker, will be published. In 2022 Sandra was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and received The Benson Medal for a lifetime achievement in Literature. She is currently a Learning Facilitator for Schools at the British Library.

Jason Lee: At the age of 10 Jason Lee became the youngest Black Ink author for the poetry book Sometimes You Feel like Ice. This was published to great acclaim which lead to Jason appearing on radio, TV and open air speaking engagements. He has gone on to hone his skills within illustration and animation, producing work for clients, offering a wide range of content and skills, which include story book art, digital illustrations, graphic design, storyboarding, animation, board game design and wall murals. Jason, now a Director of his own company, produces and develops concepts and strategies, as well as building his family brand, Diversleemade.

Stxkz: The South London rapper specialises in lyricism and wordplay, with high energy performances that captivates his audience. Discovering his talent at 14, Stxkz (pronounced – stickz) has been refining his sound as well as embracing the elements from a range of genres. …” whatever effectively gets the message across”. After the release of his projects Perspective and Aura Eps, (available on Spotify and all streaming services) Stxkz sold out his headline show alongside fellow artist SMA. Getting radio play on 1Xtra with the single Believe In Me by Cher Blu ft Stxkz, and his collection of top tier freestyles on social media, Stxkz commands his space in the game when he’s around. IG: Stxkz, Spotify/Apple Music/ Tidal/Ditto: Stxkz, Youtube: StxkzMusic

Derek Owusu: Derek Owusu is an award-winning writer and poet from North London. In 2019, Owusu collated, edited and contributed to SAFE: On Black British Men Reclaiming Space, an anthology exploring the experiences of Black men in Britain. His first novel, ‘That Reminds Me’, and the first work of fiction to be published by Stormzy’s Merky Books imprint, won the Desmond Elliott Prize for debut fiction.

Reserve spot here

Location: Brixton Library Brixton Oval London SW2 1JQ

Date and time: Fri, 19 May 2023 19:00 – 21:00 BST