In The Cuckoo Cage, ten authors redefine what it means to be a superhero in today’s ever-changing society, shifting the focus from American caped crusaders to issues prevalent in present-day Britain.

During a special panel discussion event, we’ll hear from a handful of the book’s contributing authors, including Bidisha, M.Y. Alam, Gaia Holmes, and project editor Ra Page to discover how they created a batch of new heroes for a new age, full of new issues.

From a Bristolian super-powered statue toppler to the protector of Essex’s parks and public spaces – progressive causes and otherworldly heroics combine in this colourful and pertinent conversation.

About The Chair

Headshot of Ra Page stood in front of a plain white wall

Ra Page

Ra Page is the founder and Editorial Manager of Comma Press. He is a former journalist, having been Deputy Editor for City Life magazine, and a former Director of Manchester Poetry Festival.

About The Speakers

Headshot of comic book artist Gaia Holmes sat at a bench with a pad and pen

Gaia Holmes

Gaia Holmes is a freelance writer and creative writing tutor who hosts a number of writing workshops.

She has published three collections of poems with Comma Press and is now focusing on short stories.


Bidisha is a broadcaster, journalist and film maker. She works for The Observer and The Guardian and presents and commentates for BBC TV and radio, ITN, CNN, ViacomCBS and Sky News, where she has been a regular on the weekend breakfast show since 2016. Bidisha specialises in international human rights, social justice and culture and the arts. Her fifth book,  Asylum and Exile: Hidden Voices of London (2015), is based on her outreach work in UK prisons, refugee charities and detention centres. 

Her first short film, An Impossible Poison, premiered in Berlin in November 2017  and received its London premier in March 2018. It has been highly acclaimed and selected for numerous international film festivals. Her latest publication is an essay called The Future of Serious Art (Nov 2020) and her latest film series, Aurora, launched in 2020 and is ongoing. She is currently presenting the Hello Happiness audio series for Wellcome Collection, all about mental and physical health. 

Headshot of Dr Yunis Alam.

MY Alam

Dr Yunis Alam is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Bradford. He has particular interests in public sociology, ethnography, ethnic relations, consumption, popular culture and how these relate with and have an impact on identity. Publishing as MY Alam, he is the author of Annie Potts is Dead and the award-winning Kilo and is currently working on his third novel. His short story ‘Finding Polish’ is currently being made into a film, directed by Caleb Shaffer.

In 2006 he released Made in Bradford via Route Publishing. Provoked by media reaction after the 2001 Bradford riots, he interviews British Pakistani to understand their issues.