Tune in to the Deptford Literature Festival 2024 podcast


Tune in to the festival podcast hosted by Shani Akilah

Join Festival Podcast host Shani Akilah as she talks to writers Tice Cin, Jacqueline Crooks, Femi Fadugba and Helen Bowell about their work, their inspirations and their festival events.

Shani Akilah is a Black-British Caribbean fiction writer and screenwriter from South London, a book influencer and co-founder of the Nyah Network, a book club for Black women. Her debut short story collection For Such A Time As This is published this year.

Listen to the podcasts here or find them on Apple Podcasts, Google, Spotify, Amazon/Audible or Podbean by searching for ‘Deptford Literature Festival’.


Episode #1: Jacqueline Crooks on dub and the language of music

Jacqueline Crooks is a Jamaican-born British writer and community development worker, living in South East London. She writes stories about migration and sub-cultures. Jacqueline’s debut novel, Fire Rush, was published by Jonathan Cape in March 2023 and was shortlisted for both the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize. ​The novel is about dub reggae, love, loss, freedom, and Black Womanhood. The Guardian newspaper named Jacqueline as one of top ten 2023 debut novelists.

Here Jacqueline joins Shani for a discussion about how dub music and patois inform her writing, and her 16-year journey to write Fire Rush.

Download the transcript of Episode 1: Jaqueline Crooks

Book your ticket for Music and Words with Jacqueline Crooks, Aniefiok Ekpoudom and Emma Warren.


Episode #2: Tice Cin on community and gentleness

Tice Cin is an interdisciplinary artist from north London and now based South of the river. Tice’s debut novel Keeping the House (2021) was named one of The Guardian’s Best Books of 2021. She was named one of Complex Magazine’s best music journalists of 2021, and has written for places such as DJ Mag and Mixmag. A DJ and music producer, she is preparing to release an accompanying album for Keeping the House with a host of talented features. A filmmaker, she is currently writing and co-directing three short films.

In this episode Tice sits down with Shani to talk about representing her community and trying to create a space for gentleness, as well as her plans for her next book.

Download the transcript of Episode 2: Tice Cin

Book tickets for Tice Cin’s event soft, soft via the Albany.


Episode #3: Helen Bowell on capturing the in-between

Helen Bowell is a poet and producer based in London. Her debut pamphlet The Barman was published by Bad Betty Press in 2022, and selected as the Poetry Book Society Summer 2022 Pamphlet Choice. She runs the Bi+ Lines project for bi+ poets, and edited the first anthology of bi+ poets in English in 2023. She is also a co-director of Dead [Women] Poets Society, an Arts Council England-funded collective which seeks to ‘resurrect’ women poets of the past through events and online.

Helen and Shani discuss what motivates her to run Bi+Lines, and how quantum physics and bisexuality can help us understand in-betweenness in our world.

Download the transcript of Episode 3: Helen Bowell

Book tickets for Writing the in-between, a queer poetry workshop with Helen Bowell.


Episode #4: Femi Fadugba on Peckham, metaphysics and learning to write

Femi Fadubga currently writes young adult sci-fi novels, with his debut novel, The Upper World, set to be a Netflix feature film starring Daniel Kaluuya. In prior lives, Femi worked as a management consultant, solar financier, theoretical physicist and science tutor. He earned his Master’s from Oxford, where he published in Quantum Computing, and subsequently studied as a Thouron Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. He currently lives between Peckham, London and Baltimore, USA. The Upper World is his first book.

In our final episode, Femi chats to Shani about why he set his book in Peckham, and how physics inspired him to learn how to write a book.

Download the transcript of Episode 4: Femi Fadugba

Book tickets for Story Algorithms 101 with Femi Fedugba (suitable for 11 to 15 year olds).


All interviews (c) Shani Akilah, 2024
Music from #Uppbeat: https://uppbeat.io/t/night-drift/the-cleaner
License code: 67JGHYEPFEEMHNWF