It’s been 40 years since the New Cross Fire, a devastating event that’s considered a pivotal moment in the UK’s fight for race equality. Despite the incident claiming 13 young black lives, this tragic loss was met with indifference from the media, police and politicians – spurring on history-making activism.

Grim parallels can be seen in 2017’s Grenfell fire, the Black Lives Matter movement, and continued racism at the hands of far-right groups. However, out of this grief came a wealth of poems, books and songs, each shining a light on this devastating incident and the work that still needs to be done.

Join us as we welcome a panel including poet Linton Kwesi Johnson and academic and activist Kehinde Andrews to reflect on the legacy of this historic tragedy and its links to recent events. Audiences will also be treated to a performance of Johnson’s iconic New Crass Massahkah.

To book for this event you’ll be taken through to the Bradford Theatres website. Please note that the £2 booking fee will be deducted at the point at sale.

About The Speakers

Linton Kwesi Johnson

Linton Kwesi Johnson was born in Chapelton, Clarendon, Jamaica and came to London in 1963. He was a member of the Black Panthers, and developed his work with Rasta Love, a group of poets and drummers.  In 2002 Johnson became only the second living poet, and the first ever black poet, to have his work included in Penguin’s Modern Classics series, under the title Mi Revalueshanary Fren: Selected Poems. He has has been running his own record label, LKJ Records, since 1981.

Jay Bernard

Jay Bernard is a writer from London and the author of Surge (Chatto and Windus, 2019) an exploration of the Black British archives via the 1981 New Cross Fire. Jay won the Ted Hughes Award 2017 and the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Yea  Award 2020.

Kehinde Andrews

Kehinde Andrews is Professor of Black Studies at Birmingham City University. His latest book is The New Age of Empire: How Racism and Colonialism Still Rule World published by Penguin Allen Lane in 2021. He also wrote Black to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century and Resisting Racism: Race, Inequality and the Black Supplementary School Movement  and is editor of the Blackness in Britain book series with Bloomsbury. Kehinde has written opinions pieces for outlets including the Guardian, Independent, Washington Post and CNN.  He is founder of the Harambee Organisation of Black Unity; and editor-in-chief of Make it Plain.

About The Chair

Nadine Batchelor-Hunt

Nadine Batchelor-Hunt is a journalist and broadcaster, and is also the former president of the Cambridge University Student Union’s Black and Minority Ethnic Campaign.