Paul Mendez & Derek Owusu: Thorny Intersections (2020 Event)

How do you get the upper hand on a world you don’t yet understand? That’s the burning question at the heart of two striking debuts that scrape away the coming-of-age clichés, breathing through the aches and pains of growing up.

With echoes of early Baldwin, Paul Mendez’s Rainbow Milk, one of the Observer’s top 10 debuts of 2020, mines the author’s upbringing as a lapsed Jehovah's Witness and, later, sex worker, to tell an intergenerational story of two men stalled at an impossible intersection of sexuality, spirituality and race.

Derek Owusu’s ‘virtuosic debut’ That Reminds Me — the first novel to be released on Stormzy’s new imprint #Merky Books — pieces together the fragments of K’s short life, as memories of addiction, racism and trauma threaten to flatline an already faltering recovery.

In this event recorded live at the 2020 Book Festival, join Owusu and Mendez as they interrogate the forces that seek to cast a shadow over the blossoming of young Black men in the UK today with former Lord Mayor of Sheffield Magid Magid - and fall in love with two writers soon to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue.

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