Back to All Events

Unwritten: Caribbean Poems after the First World War @BhamLitFest

  • Royal Birmingham Conservatoire 200 Jennens Road Birmingham, B4 7XR United Kingdom (map)

What does it mean to fight for a ‘mother country’ that refuses to accept you as one of its own? Britain’s First World War poets changed the way we view military conflict and had a deep impact on the national psyche. Yet the stories of the 15,600 Caribbean volunteers who signed up to the British West Indian Regiment remain largely unknown. Sadly, these citizens of the empire were not embraced as compatriots on an equal footing. Instead they faced prejudice, injustice and discrimination while being confined to menial and auxiliary work, regardless of rank or status.

Co-commissioned by BBC – Contains Strong Language, 14-18 NOW – WW1 Centenary Art Commissions and the British Council, Unwritten invited contemporary Caribbean diaspora poets to write into that vexed space.

Exploring the nature of war and humanity – as it exists now – and at a time when Britain's colonial ambitions were still at a peak.

Unwritten: Caribbean Poems After the First World War is a result of that provocation.

Joining us this evening to share their poetry from this new collection are Jay Bernard,Malika Booker, Kat Francois, Jay T. John, Ishion Hutchinson, Charnell Lucien, Vladimir Lucien and Tanya Shirley. The event will be hosted by Karen McCarthy Woolf.


Unwritten Poems is co-commissioned by BBC – Contains Strong Language, 14-18 NOW – WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, and the British Council.

Tickets: £15 (includes a copy of the book)