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June 15 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
  • Discussion
  • Essex Writers House
  • FREE

Blood and Belonging Panel Discussion

Raine Geoghegan, Richard O'Neill & Damian Le Bas, chaired by Louise Doughty
Raine Geoghegan, Richard O'Neill, Damian Le Bas and Louise Doughty


Metal at Chalkwell Hall, Chalkwell Avenue
Southend-on-Sea, SS0 8NB
booking required

Panel Discussion with Blood and Belonging Writers

Raine Geoghegan, Richard O’Neill & Damian Le Bas (writers from a variety of Romany Traveller backgrounds), chaired by Louise Doughty

Saturday 15 June, 3.00pm

Raine Geoghegan, Richard O’Neill and Damian Le Bas: three different writers from a variety of Romany Traveller backgrounds come together for a reading and event chaired by Louise Doughty. Blood and Belonging is the title of Louise’s Guest Edition of the online writing magazine Writers Mosaic.

Raine, Richard and Damian will be reading from their contributions and talking about the importance of their GRT ancestry – how does a blood lineage give you a sense of belonging? Is there any such thing as a GRT community when so much of it is so diverse?

Join us for discussion and celebration of what we have in common.


Venue: Metal, Chalkwell Hall, Chalkwell Park, Southend-on-Sea, SS0 8NB
Tickets: Free, booking required
Box Office: eventbrite.co.uk


Part of Essex Writers House – for full event listings visit: metalculture.com/projects/essex-writers-house-2024/



About Richard

Richard O’Neill is a storyteller, author, playwright, animation scriptwriter and workshop leader based in the North of England. He conducts nomadic storytelling training sessions across Europe and co-founded Diverse Book Week to champion inclusivity and amplify diverse voices.

His upbringing in a traditional nomadic Romani family deeply influences his work, inspiring him to leverage the power of storytelling in various formats to promote inclusion and acceptance.

Awards include the ‘National Literacy Hero’ award for his impact on promoting literacy and diversity in literature, the Beacon Leadership Award for community development and inclusion, and a Royal Society of Literature Award.


About Raine

Raine Geoghegan (she/her) is a prize winning multi-disciplinary artist with an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Chichester. Born in the Welsh Valleys, she is of Romany, Welsh and Irish ethnicity. Her poems and prose have been published with Under the Radar, Romany Routes Journal, Poetry Ireland Review, The Clearing, Travellers’ Times and were featured in the documentary film, Stories from the Hop Yards.

Raine’s first pamphlet Apple Water: Povel Panni (2018) was chosen as a 2019 Spring Selection by the Poetry Book Society. Her second and third pamphlets are also published with Hedgehog Press. Her first full collection The Talking Stick: O Pookering Kosh (2022) was published by Salmon Poetry Press. She currently gives readings in the UK and Ireland and Australia.


About Damian

Damian Le Bas is a writer from the south coast of England. His first book The Stopping Places: a Journey through Gypsy Britain (2018) won the Somerset Maugham award, a Royal Society of Literature Jerwood award, and was shortlisted for the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year. He is currently writing a book about the sea, diving and Atlantis, due to be published by Chatto & Windus in 2025.


About Louise

Louise Doughty is the author of ten novels, including Fires in the Dark, about the Romany Holocaust, and Stone Cradle, based on her own English Romanichal background. Of her other books, Apple Tree Yard was a number one bestseller and adapted as a major BBC One series starring Emily Watson; Platform Seven has been filmed for ITV. She also created and wrote the hit series Crossfire, starring Keeley Hawes. She has been nominated for multiple awards including the Costa Novel Award, the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Sunday Times Short Story Prize. Her work has been translated into thirty languages.


Part of Essex Writers House: This June, Metal Southend will become a house for writers to read, to write overlooking the Thames Estuary, to get help and feedback on your work or to have lively, meandering conversations with other writers. You can book a writing desk, join a writing group for sharing and solidarity, meet our writers in residence or have an advice session with Metal and our associate writers.



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Metal at Chalkwell Hall
Chalkwell Avenue
Southend-on-Sea, SS0 8NB
+ Google Map
01702 470 700

Accessibility: Please contact the venue direct about wheelchair and disabled access.

Hearing Loop: Essex Book Festival has a mobile Roger Pen hearing loop system, which needs to be booked by individuals in advance at least five days before the event. If you would like to use the Roger Pen email [email protected]