Birmingham, the city that raised me: Kit de Waal & Osman Yousefzada
****PLEASE NOTE: the time of this event as printed in the programme is incorrect. The event is 7pm – 8pm.****
Two memoirs set in the same part of Birmingham: geographically, very close – but culturally, miles apart.
Kit de Waal grew up to a white Irish mother and Black Caribbean father in 1960s Springfield, South Birmingham, with 4 siblings, not enough food and huge expectations imposed by her Jehovah’s Witness mother. Not 3 miles away, 15 years later, Osman Yousefzada grew up in a closed-off Pakistani immigrant community where everyone knew his and his family’s business and he and his siblings – especially his sisters – were under permanent scrutiny.
Kit and Osman join us at Birmingham Literature Festival in the year both their memoirs have been published to talk about their childhoods in the city, their families, and how that set them on the track to stride out and break with expectations to forge their own careers and lives.
Chaired by Paul McVeigh
Sponsored by Newman University
About the speakers:
Kit de Waal is the author of the novels My Name is Leon, which was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year, and The Trick to Time, which was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and a short story collection, Supporting Cast. She is also editor of the Common People anthology, and co-founder of the Big Book Weekend festival. My Name is Leon was adapted as a one-hour film for BBC1, and broadcast in June 2022 to rave reviews.
Osman Yousefzada was born in Birmingham to migrant parents who are illiterate in English and their mother tongue. He is an interdisciplinary artist and designer who studied at SOAS and Central Saint Martins, and went on to obtain an MPhil at Cambridge University. He has exhibited at international institutions including the Whitechapel Gallery, Dhaka Art Summit, V&A and more. The Osman Yousefzada clothing line is worn by celebrities including Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Lupita Nyong’o, Thandiwe Newton, Gwen Stefani, Emma Watson, Freida Pinto and many more.