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Celebrate Romany Nation Day in Style on April 9th at the British Library with Drive 2 Survive

The glory of Gypsy, Romany and Traveller writers lies in their diversity – the amorphous, shape-shifting nature of the journeys they undertake to hold on to and develop their sense of belonging to themselves, free of attempts by the non-Romany world to define them. Join the novelist Louise Doughty – editor of the WritersMosaic guest edition Blood and Belonging: Traveller Writers – for an evening of celebration with filmmaker Jake Bowers, poet Jo Clement, writer Damian Le Bas and those virtuoso Roma musicians, The Romany Diamonds.


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.


Jake Bowers is a Romani journalist, producer and filmmaker. His 2022 series 60 Days with the Gypsies was the first series on British TV to be produced by a community member on Channel Four. He has also worked for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 for over 20 years.

Jo Clement teaches Creative Writing at Northumbria University, selects and reviews collections for the Poetry Book Society and is a Northern Writers’ Award winner. BBC Radio appearances include Enchanted Isle, Northern Drift, Poetry Please and Start the Week. Their debut poetry collection Outlandish (Bloodaxe Books, 2022) is shortlisted for the John Pollard International Poetry Prize. They live in Newcastle, England.  

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.

The Romany Diamonds feature three generations of one traditional Gypsy Roma family playing acoustic magic with fire and soul; and amazing audiences with back-to-front violin playing and soul-searching ballads followed by musical Gypsy mayhem. Their music is an energetic whirlwind of violins played at breakneck speed, hurried along by the rhythm section of accordion, keyboards, double bass and guitar. Whilst their music is traditionally Roma in sound, flecks of other genres appear, such as folk music from Slovakia, Poland and Hungary, and Jewish music.

The event will be held here:

Tuesday 9th April 2024 (7-9pm)


The Pigott Theatre

The British Library

96 Euston Road



Tickets can be booked here:

Drive 2 Survive has 20 free tickets to give away, to get on the guest list email:

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