Sharmilla Beezmohun and Sarah Sanders founded Speaking Volumes in 2010 and Sharmilla has been working on Speaking Volumes' projects full time since November 2016. She was Deputy Editor of Wasafiri, the Magazine of International Contemporary Writing, for 11 years and has worked in publishing since 1995, including for Virago and Heinemann's African and Caribbean Writers series. She continues to work freelance on a range of editorial projects. Sharmilla has written a novel, published in translation in Spain as Ecos de la tierra verde, and, among others, has edited a volume of essays, Continental Shifts, Shifts in Perception: Black Cultures and Identities in Europe (2016). Her writing has been published in various journals and magazines.
Summary of work
Speaking Volumes Live Literature Productions is a not-for-profit, producer-led independent organisation, which promotes the very best of the UK’s rich diversity of literature and international writing. Formed in 2010 by Sharmilla Beezmohun and Sarah Sanders, the agency has, along with Nick Chapman, produced numerous literary festivals, tours, events series and showcases in the UK and internationally. This includes: two tours of Black British writers to the East and West Coasts of the USA; a London and UK-wide series of Stand Up And Spit events celebrating political poetry; four editions of European Literature Night at the British Library; programmes for the European Commission; and the 2012 UK tour of Poetry Parnassus, the Southbank Centre’s festival for the Cultural Olympiad.
Work to develop
In 2017-18, Speaking Volumes will be taking British writers to Europe as part of Breaking Ground and producing related events in the UK. Breaking Ground aims to showcase British black, Asian and minority ethnic writers to make our diverse literary talent better known. As well as bookselling, these writers will have the chance to network with industry professionals on their visits abroad. We will be visiting Finland (July 2017), Spain (Nov 2017), Germany (Nov 2017) and Lithuania (Feb 2018) before hosting showcases at Bradford Lit Fest in May 2018, where UK and European industry professionals will be able to come to meet the range of diverse artists performing at the festival. We would love to expand this project by adding other countries/cities to the tour or in other ways eg online.