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Published 27th Sep 2011

Author Jackie Kay

Acclaimed novelist and poet Jackie Kay MBE is to speak at a free public event at Teesside University.

The event will also launch the University’s annual an audience with... series of lectures, which continue into 2012.

This free event is on 20 October at 5.30pm in the Centuria Building, Victoria Road, Middlesbrough.

Jackie, who was born in Edinburgh to a Scottish mother and Nigerian father, was adopted by a white couple at birth. The experience of growing up with a white family inspired her first poetry collection 20 years ago, The Adoption Papers. Jackie’s debut novel Trumpet, published in 1998, was awarded the Guardian Fiction Prize and shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

Red Dust Road, Jackie’s memoir about meeting her Nigerian birth father, was published last year and shortlisted for Scottish Book of the Year and the PEN/Ackerley Prize. She will read extracts from Red Dust Road and speak with Nigerian author Kachi Ozumba about her turbulent journey to Nigeria and the role that chance plays in our lives.

Kachi, a creative writing lecturer at Teesside University, accompanied Jackie for part of her journey to Nigeria. In a chance conversation with Jackie, Kachi revealed his uncle in Nigeria had been mentored by Jackie’s birth father.

Margaret McFee, Equality and Diversity Adviser at Teesside University, said: “There are a great many misconceptions and a lack of understanding about different cultures. Events like ours during black history month will hopefully help to break down barriers and dispel some of these myths by providing understanding of diverse groups. We want to enhance our reputation with the local ethnic community by demonstrating that we actively promote black and minority ethnic communities’ issues and give access to positive role models. These varied events are not only for the University’s staff and students, all are welcome.”

Other events include:

12 October, English and History sixth form conference, to be held at the University.

15 October, Stage Star (Cultures CiC event) in the University’s Students’ Union Hub. Cultures CiC (Cultures Community Interest Company) is a cultural awareness, diversity training and consultancy enterprise based in Stockton. The competition will give young people aged from 11 to 22 an opportunity to display their talent and build confidence. They will also have the opportunity to win prizes including a laptop. Three finalists will be chosen by a panel of judges and the winner via a noise vote by the audience. They will later perform at the Taste of Africa event on 21 October, see

18 October to 15 November
, British library exhibition South Asians Making Britain 1858 – 1950. This touring exhibition will be held at Middlesbrough’s main library. Opening times to be confirmed.

19 October, dance performances by third-year Teesside University BA (Hons) Dance students mentored by Pauline Mayers, formerly of Phoenix Art. These performances are part of the University’s Open Day and will take place at 12.45pm and 1.45pm in the University’s Mercuria Building, off Woodlands Road, Middlesbrough. The dance students will repeat their performances at the Taste of Africa event on 21 October.

19 October, PhD student David Wilkins will present a Centre for Regional and Local Historical Research seminar lecture on October 19 in the University's Middlesbrough Tower at 5.30pm. He is currently in his final year at University of Hull's Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE).

21 October, Here and Now conference aimed at international students and those with an interest in black and minority ethnic communities’ issues. This Cultures CiC event is supported by the University, with inspirational speakers, including Eddie Botsio, award-winning BBC journalist, commissioning editor, former ITN correspondent and documentary producer. This will be held in the University’s Phoenix Building from 10.00am until 2.00pm.

21 October, Taste of Africa (Cultures CiC main event), a recruitment and health fair will take place at Middlesbrough Town Hall, from 4.00pm until 6.00pm. This will be followed by the main celebration event from 6.00pm.

From 21 October, photography exhibition by Eddie Botsio, who is also speaking at the Here and Now conference. Eddie has been a trustee of Raleigh International since 2006 and has travelled to Namibia on behalf of Raleigh. This organisation provides expeditions and volunteer projects abroad for gap year students, or those taking a career break, retirement or ‘time out’ from education, employment or training.

From 24 October, art exhibition by London-based artist and DJ, Sunil Pawar, whose commissions range from pirate stations to international fashion houses. His exhibition will feature a variety of black references.

Useful links

Book a place to hear Jackie's an audience with talk

Teesside University: Black History Month 2011

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