Become a Friend

City of Literature

Harriet Martineau Lecture: Ellah P. Wakatama

With JulianKnxx

This is a past event which has now ended.

‘These stories of complex intersections of resistance, power dynamics, rage and creativity divide the consciousness – taking the girl and then the woman reading apart, giving her the language to put herself together again.’

The Harriet Martineau Lecture celebrates the legacy of a remarkable, world-changing woman by inviting globally-renowned radical speakers to respond to her life and work. This year we welcome Ellah P. Wakatama, literary critic and Editor-at-large for Canongate fiction.

Ellah’s piece, titled ‘None but Ourselves’, takes you on a personal journey of self-discovery through reading and storytelling. Beginning in secondary school in 1980, the year Rhodesia became Zimbabwe, she interweaves the works of Doris Lessing, Tsitsi Dangarembga and Toni Morrison to explore the impact that the words and ideas of women writers have had on her life.

Ellah’s lecture will be accompanied by a stunning visual score from film-maker, visual artist and poet Julianknxx.

The first Harriet Martineau Lecture was delivered by Ali Smith in May 2013 and featured a call to draw Harriet Martineau’s face onto £5 notes in protest at the decision to remove Elizabeth Fry from the same note. Since then the likes of Kate Mosse, Masha Gessen, Linton Kwesi-Johnson and Sarah Perry have given the lecture, variously exploring Martineau’s internationalism, inspiration for feminism, and role in the abolition of slavery.

Register in advance to receive a streaming link.


This event is part of the City of Literature programme, in partnership with National Centre for Writing.

Explore the full City of Literature programme here


Ellah P. Wakatama, OBE
Ellah P. Wakatama, OBE is Editor-at-Large at Canongate Books and was the founding Publishing Director of The Indigo Press. She was a judge for the 2017 Dublin International Literary Award and the 2015 Man Booker Prize. She is former deputy editor of Granta magazine and senior editor at Jonathan Cape, Random House. She is the editor of Africa39 and Safe House: Explorations in Creative Nonfiction.


Julianknxx is an interdisciplinary poet, visual artist and filmmaker whose practice crosses the boundaries of the written word, music, visual art and installation. Through his practice, Julianknxx explores themes of inheritance, loss, and belonging, and their effects on personal and interpersonal narratives.

With his critical engagement with art history and philosophy, Julianknxx uses his personal history as a prism through which to deconstruct dominant perspectives on African art, ideas, history and culture. Rich with symbolism and complex layering his work conveys our continuing and necessary task of defining and redefining ourselves through the simultaneous rejection of extrinsic labels and repositioning of ourselves within new collective narratives.

Through his projects Julianknxx catalogues a living archive of African diasporic experiences, creating a collaborative space for artists, participants and viewers to communicate whilst navigating a multiplicity of cultural identities, senses of belonging, and creative expressions.


Important information

Age guidance: Suitable for ages 16+.

This event will come off sale two hours before it starts, you will receive information about how to join the event between an hour and a day before the event. 


This is a free, online event. Register in advance to receive a streaming link.

This event will come off sale two hours before it starts, you will receive information about how to join the event between an hour and a day before the event. 

Select a performance


30 May

07:00 pm

Masthead image © Julian Knox

Supported by The Martineau Society.

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

National Centre for Writing

Norwich City of Literature Logo

Arts make life better

Norfolk & Norwich Festival brings tens of thousands of people together in celebration – it has been doing this for 250 years. Through our May Festival and our year-round arts education work, focusing on children and young people, we lead and support celebration, creativity and curiosity in communities across Norfolk and the region.

This year we begin an exciting new initiative, Festival Connect & Create that will bring creative opportunities to those schools and communities with least provision. Creativity transforms people’s lives. It builds cohesive communities, develops vital skills and supports health and wellbeing. We want more people to have access to creative opportunities.

Please consider donating to support and develop this work. With your help we can increase access to the life changing power of the arts.

Registered Charity No. 116442

Amount to Donate £ 0