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    Common Ground: Friendship in the City of London

    Thu 21 Oct, 7.45pm
    Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall
    Literature & poetry
    £10
    past event
    Save
    Caleb Azumah Nelson image
    Stuart Simpson

    Rising literary stars Caleb Azumah Nelson, Vanessa Onwuemezi and Naomi Ishiguro read from their work and reflect on friendships forged in London.

    London is a city that can spark love, friendship and solidarity, but is also a place marked by isolation, loneliness and inequality.

    The panellists explore the complexities of contemporary friendship through the lens of London. How are friendships and relationships forged in the city shaped or warped by the pressures of London life?

    Caleb Azumah Nelson’s acclaimed debut novel Open Water movingly charts the faltering relationship of two young people who meet in a pub in south-east London, struggling to make their mark as artists in a city that alternately celebrates and rejects them.

    Following her acclaimed short story collection Escape Routes, Naomi Ishiguro’s debut novel Common Ground tells the story of a friendship between two characters from very different backgrounds: a suburban boy fleeing from school bullies and a fiercely intelligent Romany boy with a nose for local history.

    One of the most strikingly original new voices in contemporary fiction, Vanessa Onwuemezi presents a lyrical journey through a landscape of alienation, loss and shame in her debut collection of short stories, Dark Neighbourhood. With a detached eye and hallucinatory vision, these stories observe their own worlds as the line between dream and reality dissolves and they themselves begin to fragment.

    Caleb Azumah Nelson is a British-Ghanaian writer and photographer. His writing has been published in Litro. He was recently shortlisted for the Palm Photo Prize and won the People's Choice prize. Open Water is his first novel.

    Naomi Ishiguro’s first novel, Common Ground, was published by Tinder Press in March 2021. Her collection of stories, Escape Routes, was published in the spring of 2020.

    Vanessa Onwuemezi is a writer and poet living in London. Her work has appeared in Prototype, frieze and Five Dials. Her story ‘At the Heart of Things’ won the The White Review Short Story Prize 2019.

    Need to know

    Age recommendation/restriction

    For ages 16+

    Dates & times

    Thu 21 Oct, 7.45pm

    Price

    • Standard entry£10*
    • Concessions25%**


    * Excludes £3.50 booking fee.

    ** Limited availability. Read about concessions.

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    Venue

    Purcell Room

    Open 90 minutes before an event until the end of the event. Closed at all other times.

    Our address is: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. The nearest tube and train stations within 5-7 minutes walk are Waterloo (Northern, Bakerloo, Jubilee and Waterloo & City lines) and Embankment (District & Circle lines). There are also lots of bus routes with stops 2-5 minutes from our venues. For more information on getting here by road, rail or river.

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    Get an overview of the seating layout of the Purcell Room by downloading our seating plan.

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    Purcell Room is located in Queen Elizabeth Hall. For step-free access please use Royal Festival Hall JCB glass lift to Level 2 and enter via Riverside Terrace.

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    An accessible toilet is located in the foyer.

    A Changing Places toilet is located on Level 1 Royal Festival Hall next to the JCB Glass Lift, for the exclusive use of disabled people who need personal assistance to use the toilet.

    The facility includes a height-adjustable bench, tracking hoist system, a centrally-placed toilet, a height-adjustable basin and a shower. The key for this room is available from the Welcome Hub on Level 2, Royal Festival Hall. The facility is open daily 10am – 11pm.

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