Ancestral Ties

Melissa Fu & Ayanna Lloyd Banwo in conversation

Saturday 28 May, 4.00pm

National Centre for Writing

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Tickets: £7.50 - £8.00

Ancestry, heritage, grief and new beginnings are explored in two brilliant debut books by Melissa Fu and Ayanna Lloyd Banwo.

Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu is a bold and moving look at the history of modern China, told through the story of one family. It’s about the power of our past, the hope for a better future, and the search for a place to call home.

Ayanna Lloyd Banwo’s novel When We Were Birds takes place in Trinidad; weaving an  unforgettable story of loss and renewal, darkness and light, as two people find connection in a sprawling, ancient cemetery at the heart of the island.

Melissa and Ayanna will discuss the common themes of their novels and the process of weaving powerful, personal stories which span continents and generations. Both alumni of the University of East Anglia, they will also detail their experiences of learning their craft in Norwich UNESCO City of LIterature.


About the writers

 Melissa Fu grew up in Northern New Mexico and now lives near Cambridge, UK, with her husband and children. With academic backgrounds in physics and English, she has worked in education as a teacher, curriculum developer, and consultant.

Melissa was the regional winner of the Words and Women 2016 Prose Competition and was a 2017 Apprentice with the London-based Word Factory. Her work appears in several publications including The Lonely Crowd, International Literature Showcase, Bare Fiction, Wasafiri Online, and The Willowherb Review. In 2019, her debut poetry pamphlet, Falling Outside Eden, was published by the Hedgehog Poetry Press. In 2018/2019, Melissa received an Arts Council England, Developing Your Creative Practice grant and was the David TK Wong Fellow at the University of East Anglia. Peach Blossom Spring is her first novel. Website

‘A beautifully rendered meditation on the trials and triumphs of a family torn apart by war, Peach Blossom Spring left me pondering how the stories we choose to pass down have the power not only to define us, but to buoy us — to help us persevere through the most challenging of times.’  — Georgia Hunter, New York Times bestselling author of We Were the Lucky Ones

Ayanna Lloyd Banwo is a writer from Trinidad & Tobago. She is a graduate of the University of the West Indies and holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, where she is now a Creative and Critical Writing PhD student. Her work has been published in Moko Magazine, Small Axe, PREE, Callaloo and Anomaly among others, and shortlisted for Small Axe Literary Competition and the Wasafiri New Writing Prize. Ayanna lives with her husband in London. When We Were Birds is her first novel; she is currently working on her second.

 ‘It’s a knockout, and Ayanna Lloyd Banwo is a star. I want to read everything she writes’ — Niven Govinden

Important information

Venue: National Centre for Writing

Duration: 60 Minutes


Tickets: £8.00

Under 18: £7.50

Essential Companions: Any audience member requiring an essential carer/companion can get one free ticket. Relevant discounts or concessions still apply to the paid ticket.

Young NNF: £7.50 tickets for ages 18-25 with our FREE YoungNNF membership. Sign up here

Select a performance


28 May

04:00 pm

£7.50 - £8.00

City of Literature is a Norfolk & Norwich Festival and National Centre for Writing presentation, programmed by the National Centre for Writing.

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