Last year south Londoner and grime superstar Stormzy launched #Merky Books – his own imprint with Penguin Random House – to open up publishing to a new generation of writers. Now, you can live the spirit of #Merky for three days at the imprint’s first pop-up shop in Shoreditch.
The experience, which will feature talks and workshops from the likes of Wretch 32, Inua Ellams and Reni Eddo-Lodge, will go far beyond books, showcasing music, art, spoken word and film as well as new writing. Oh, and it’s all totally free.
Head along to pick up books by authors of colour, browse self-produced zines, gaze at illustrated prints by up-and-coming artists and get your hands on Merky merch. The whole thing is in collaboration with Beats by Dre, so you’ll be able to listen to audiobooks at a Beats listening station and hear DJ sets from Pablo, K2RAH and Creole Cuts.
Tickets for the accompanying workshops and events sold out almost instantly, but you can still join the waiting list for this very special line-up (and hope someone drops out).
On day one London MC Wretch 32 will lead a songwriting workshop and author Derek Owusu will launch his new book, ‘That Reminds Me’, which is the imprint’s third title.
Day two will see Dapo Adeola of DapsDraws host an illustration workshop before ‘Taking Up Space’ co-author Chelsea Kwakye, Burnt Roti editor Sharan Dhaliwal and author Reni Eddo-Lodge (‘Why I’m Not Talking to White People About Race’) join a panel discussion about which books should be on the national curriculum.
If that’s not enough, day three will pack in a screening of Abdou Cissé’s BIFA-nominated film ‘Serious Tingz’, a playwriting workshop with the Roundhouse and ‘Barbershop Chronicles’ creator Inua Ellams, and spoken-word performances curated by BoxedIn creator Yomi Sode.
Throughout the three-day stint keep an eye out for: live podcasts from ‘Generation Vex’, ‘Black Gals Livin’’ and more; a pop-up barbershop from celebrity barber Mark Maciver (SliderCuts); and writing clinics where you can get your work seen by top editors.
Whether Stormzy himself will make an appearance or not is uncertain – but we’re keeping our fingers crossed.
The #Merky Books pop-up will take place at The Beats by Dr Dre Residency, 4 Chance St, E1 6JT. Thu Nov 14-Sat Nov 16. Entry and events are free. Join the waiting list here.
Obsessed with books? Read our guide to literary London.
Find more great things happening this month with our November guide.