Arrival, Celebrating Windrush
  • The Mayor of London is hosting a free public event, 'Arrival: celebrating Windrush and the communities who followed' to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Windrush on Saturday 30 June
  • Penguin Live have programmed a series of events in London’s Living Room at City Hall, celebrating the Windrush generation and their impact on London through workshops, panel discussions and spoken word performances
  • Participating Penguin authors include Colin Grant, Bernardine Evaristo and Nikesh Shukla, illustrator and author Nadia Shireen, and poet Linton Kwesi Johnson
  • Find out more about Arrival and get your tickets at

On Saturday 30 June Penguin Live is collaborating with the Mayor of London’s Office to host a series of events for Arrival: celebrating Windrush and the communities who followed, in London’s Living Room at City Hall.

Arrival: celebrating Windrush and the communities who followed will tell the stories of the Windrush generation and celebrate their contribution to life in London, 70 years since the ship Empire Windrush arrived into Tillbury Docks from the Caribbean. By shining a spotlight on the recent immigration and visa issues affecting so many Commonwealth citizens, Arrival will honour these communities and act as a springboard for crucial conversations; including how we encourage discussion and preserve their stories for the future.

Penguin Live has programmed five sessions throughout the afternoon, focusing on the voices of Windrush through storytelling, workshops and spoken word performances:

Penguin Authors Panel: Explorations of Windrush and Beyond in Literature

For decades Caribbean writing in the UK struggled to match the 1960s golden period. With a few exceptions, during this barren period the successors to Sam Selvon and V.S Naipaul were overlooked, marginalised and forgotten. In recent years, though, we've witnessed a renaissance of writing from their literary descendants. 

Join Colin Grant, author of the forthcoming England Fever: Voices of Caribbean Migration to Britain, Bernardine Evaristo, award-winning author of Blonde Roots, Sara Collins, author of the forthcoming The Confessions of Frannie Langton and Penguin WriteNow mentee Lemara Lindsay-Prince as they discuss Caribbean migrant stories in literature past, present and future. Their books provide valuable opportunities for these voices to be read at this pivotal time in British culture.

Celebrating Windrush

L-R: Colin Grant (credit: Anthony Robling), Bernardine Evaristo (credit: Marlon James), Sara Collins and Lemara Lindsay-Prince

Little Leaders workshop

Hosted by Penguin author and illustrator Nadia Shireen, this workshop will bring to life the stories of trailblazing black women in the world’s history. The workshop is designed to educate and inspire children as it relates true stories of women who broke boundaries and exceeded all expectations: from nurse Mary Seacole and politician Diane Abbott, to mathematician Katherine Johnson and singer Shirley Bassey. Children will find heroes, role models and everyday women who did extraordinary things before being encouraged to draw portraits of themselves doing the jobs they aspire to have when they grow up! 

Nadia Shireen’s books include Billy and the Beast and The Bumblebear. She has been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize and the Waterstones Children's Book Prize. 

Nadia Shireen

From L-R: Nadia Shireen; Nadia hosting a Little Leaders workshop earlier this year

Writing workshop with Spread the Word

Award winning poet Theresa Lola, and poet, writer and film-maker Victoria Adukwei Bulley, will lead a writing session for young people framed around telling stories and getting their voice heard through poetry. Workshop participants will be given the opportunity to write their own poetry on what it means to make London their home, as well as discussing other poems that touch on migration and London in particular. Spread The Word is London’s writer development agency and a National Portfolio client of Arts Council England. It is funded to help London’s writers make their mark on the page, the screen and in the world, and to foster a literature ecology which reflects the cultural diversity of contemporary Britain.

The Good Immigrant Panel

Author and editor Nikesh Shukla will be in conversation with debut author Sharlene Teo and writer Diana Evans; discussing their new novels – The One Who Wrote DestinyPonti and Ordinary People respectively – and the role of fiction in the creation of place and cities. They will be joined by poet Inua Ellams as they examine themes of belonging and family, and discuss their influences as well as reading from their work. The Good Immigrant is a collection of essays from twenty emerging British BAME writers, poets, journalists, and artists to confront issues of race, poverty, identity and immigration.

Celebrating Windrush

From L-R: Nikesh Shulka, Sharlene Teo, Diana Evans (credit: Nick Tucker), Inua Ellams

Linton Kwesi Johnson

Penguin is thrilled to bring the day to a glorious close with poetry readings from the original reggae poet, Linton Kwesi Johnson. Linton Kwesi Johnson is only the second living poet, and first black poet, to be published by Penguin Classics.  Born in Chapelton, a small town in the parish of Clarendon, Jamaica, he came to England in 1963. He has toured the world reading his poems, from Japan to South Africa, Europe to Brazil. Linton Kwesi Johnson will sign copies of his Selected Poems after his reading.

Celebrating Windrush

Linton Kwesi Johnson (credit: Danny da Costa)

Find out more about Arrival and get your tickets at

Penguin Live is working in partnership with the George Padmore Institute, which will be displaying archive materials and research relating to the black community of Caribbean, African and Asian descent in Britain, and New Beacon Books, which specialises in Afro-Caribbean writing and will be operating a bookshop on the day.

James Robinson, Creative Event Producer at Penguin Random House, said: “It is so important that we recognise how much an integral part of the fabric of London and the rest of the UK the Windrush generation are. Penguin is honoured to be part of celebrating such a key moment in the history of this country and to be able to participate in the conversation at the Mayor Of London’s Arrival event with some of our best-loved authors.”

Matthew Ryder, QC, Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, said: “I am really pleased that Penguin is joining us at City Hall to mark this historic anniversary. The arrival of the Windrush generation, 70 years ago, was an iconic moment that shaped modern Britain. In light of the recent immigration scandal surrounding the treatment of this generation, it is more important than ever to shine a light on their stories and highlight the important contribution the Caribbean community has made to our city. I look forward to hearing from authors such as Linton Kwesi Johnson and Nikesh Shukla, as we reflect on the fact that these stories are not simply about immigration, but are part of this city’s history and a vital part of our shared culture as Londoners.”

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