Roger Robinson & Johny Pitts: Home Is Not A Place
In 2021, award-winning poet Roger Robinson and acclaimed photographer Johny Pitts rented a red Mini Cooper and decided to follow the coast clockwise in search of an answer to this question. Leaving London, they followed the River Thames east towards Tilbury, where the Empire Windrush docked in 1948. Too often, that is where the history told about Black Britain begins and ends – but Robinson and Pitts continued out of London, following the coast clockwise through Margate to Land’s End, Bristol to Blackpool, Glasgow to John O’Groats and Scarborough to Southend on Sea. Here, the authors found not only Black British culture long overlooked in official narratives of Britain, but also the history of Empire and transatlantic slavery to which every Briton is tethered.
What is it like to be black in Britain today, particularly if you live outside of the urban, metropolitan centres? Acclaimed poet Roger Robinson and award-winning author and photographer Johny Pitts have joined forces to explore this issue in their stunning new book, ‘Home Is Not A Place’.
Featuring photographs, poetry and essays, the book is a visual poem reflecting on the complexity, strength and resilience of Black Britain. In their journey around the UK, the writers uncover hidden stories of black people living in the unlikeliest of places, from rundown seaside resorts to rural beach locations. Come and hear these tales, which echo across centuries of the black experience, transforming and illuminating the history of Britain.
“This beautiful, haunting, thought-provoking fusion of poetry and photography offers us layers of society, the self, the subconscious and Britishness from a Black perspective. It’s a book I will return to again and again”.
“This is a book I have been waiting for”.
-Caleb Azumah Nelson
Roger Robinson is a writer who has performed worldwide. Winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize 2019, the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2020 and a Royal Society of Literature Fellow, he was chosen by Decibel as one of 50 writers who have influenced the Black-British writing canon.
His last collection ‘A Portable Paradise’ was a New Statesman Book of the Year. He has been commissioned by The National Trust, London Open House, BBC, National Portrait Gallery and Theatre Royal Stratford East (where he was also Associate Artist).
He is co-founder of Spoke Lab and the international writing collective Malika’s Poetry Kitchen. He is lead vocalist and lyricist for King Midas Sound and has also recorded solo albums with Jahtari Records.
Johny Pitts is the curator of the ENAR (European Network Against Racism) award-winning online journal ‘Afropean’ and the author of ‘Afropean: Notes From Black Europe’. In 2020 the book won the Jhalak Prize and the Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing and is the recipient of the 2021 Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding.
He has presented on MTV, BBC and ITV1, and his broadcasting includes a BBC Radio 4 documentary exploring Black identity through the music of his father who was a member of the Northern Soul group, The Fantastics. He currently presents Open Book for BBC Radio 4.
Johny has contributed words and images for The Guardian, New Statesman, New York Times and CondéNast Traveller. His debut photographic exhibition, ‘Afropean: Travels in Black Europe’, was at Foam, Amsterdam in 2020.