Mike Phillips helps Ormonde set sail

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Top: Mike Phillips introducing Ormonde. Above: Hannah Lowe reading.

Fans of Next Generation poet Hannah Lowe braved a rainy night in November to attend the launch of her latest book, Ormonde (named, appropriately for both the weather and the event, after a ship). The celebration was held at Brixton East, a former furniture warehouse built in 1871, located off Coldharbour Lane. DJ Lin Sangster provided the perfect soundtrack for the evening, with a mix of reggae, calypso and ska.

The extraordinary space, with its high vaulted ceiling, made an atmospheric backdrop for Hannah’s moving poems, which tell of the passengers of the ex-troopship Ormonde, who arrived as part of the first wave of Jamaican immigrants to the UK in 1947.

Hannah was introduced by Windrush author and broadcaster, Mike Phillips, who spoke of the importance of archives – he told the story of Len Garrison, another Jamaican immigrant, whose life’s work was to catalogue the development of black British identity and promote the works of young black writers. Although a creative re-imagining of the journey, Hannah’s book joins the ranks of publications exploring this vital period.

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Above: a rapt audience in the atmospheric space.

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Above: Hannah (centre) shows Mike Phillips and his partner the book.