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June 4, 2022 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
  • Discussion
  • In partnership

Postponed – Breathing

Jason Allen-Paisant, Tessa McWatt, Joanna Pocock and Zena Edwards


Firstsite, Lewis Gardens, High Street
Colchester, CO1 1JH
£8 concessions (Students, Under 27s and Jobseekers)

** This event has been postponed **


We breathe reciprocally with the trees, the forests, the green planet on which we live. Breathing is our human condition. Climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and the cry of George Floyd – I can’t breathe – all strike at the heart and lungs of what it is to be human today. WritersMosaic asks its writers to take a deep breath…

In partnership with WritersMosaicwritersmosaic.org.uk


Venue: Firstsite, Lewis Gardens, High Street, Colchester, CO1 1JH

Date and time: Saturday 4th June, 2.00pm

Tickets: £10 / £8 concessions (Students, Under 27s and Jobseekers)

Box Office: Book online or via Mercury Theatre 01206 573948 (10am – 8pm Tuesday to Saturday)


About the Speakers

Jason Allen-Paisant is from a village called Coffee Grove in Manchester, Jamaica. At present, he’s a lecturer in Caribbean Poetry & Decolonial Thought in the School of English at the University of Leeds, where he’s also the Director of the Institute for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies. He serves on the editorial board of Callaloo: Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters. He holds a doctorate in Medieval and Modern Languages from the University of Oxford, and he speaks seven languages. He lives in Leeds with his partner and two daughters.


Tessa McWatt is the author of seven novels and two books for young people. Her fiction has been nominated for the Governor General’s Award, the City of Toronto Book Awards, and the OCM Bocas Prize. She is one of the winners of the Eccles British Library Award 2018, for her memoir: Shame on Me: An Anatomy of Race and Belonging, which won the Bocas Prize for Non-Fiction 2020 and was shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Prize and the Governor General’s Award. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She is also a librettist, and works on interdisciplinary projects and community-based life writing through CityLife: Stories Against Loneliness. Born in Guyana, and raised in Canada, she lives in London.


Joanna Pocock turned her attention to essay writing in 2014 while living in Missoula, Montana. Being in the American West, Pocock felt closer to the elemental, to the devastating wildfires and to the effects of mining and extraction on the landscape. Moved to document the environmental changes around her, she sought out rewilders, river reclaimers, ecosexuals, nomads and scavengers – people with a more balanced, and in some cases more extreme, relationship to the Earth. This resulted in Surrender, a work of creative non-fiction, blending memoir with reportage and criticism with nature writing, which won the Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize in 2018 before being published in the UK in 2019.

Photo of Joanna Pocock © Dinah Wood


Raised in Tottenham, North London, Zena Edwards has become known as one the most unique voices of performance poetry to come out of London. She is also iw for her polemic voice, speaking on panels for climate change and creative campaigning for equality and equitable rights.
Zena has been involved in performance for 20 years – as a writer/poet performer, facilitator, creative project developer and vocalist after graduating from Middlesex University. She recently studied at The London International School for Performing Arts.

Photo of Zena Edwards © Anton


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Lewis Gardens, High Street
Colchester, CO1 1JH
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Hearing Loop: Firstsite does not have a hearing loop system in this room.

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]