The Apocalypse Reading Room: In Conversation with Jay Bernard | Free Word

2 May 2019
19:00 21:00-

Presented by:


Writer and curator Ama Josephine Budge returned to Free Word for the second The Apocalypse Reading Room in conversation with Ted Hughes Award winner Jay Bernard.

They discussed how narratives are shaped, figures forgotten, and how poetry, politics and history can create alternative futures. The evening featured readings by Jay Bernard taken from their work Surge: Side A, a cross-disciplinary exploration of the 1981 New Cross Fire. Their conversation explores how we might re-think queerness – particularly from emerging Black trans and non-binary perspectives – to better reflect our specific relationship with Britain.

Jay Bernard is a writer from London whose work is interdisciplinary, critical, queer and rooted in the archive. Their works include the 2018 Ted Hughes Award winning Surge: Side A, and the short film Something Said, a queer response to the historical legacy of the fire. Ama Josephine Budge is an internationally published writer, curator and pleasure activist whose work has featured in The Independent, Consented, Media Diversified, Skin Deep and Autograph ABP.


Photo: Benedict Lombe

2 May 2019
19:00 - 21:00
£6 / £5 / £2


Ama Josephine Budge

Writer and pleasure activist

Ama Josephine Budge is a speculative writer, artist, curator and pleasure activist. Ama’s work navigates intimate explorations of race, art, ecology and feminism, working to activate movements that catalyse human rights, environmental evolutions and troublesomely queered identities. Ama is a PhD candidate in Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck. Her research takes a queer, decolonial approach to challenging climate colonialism. Ama’s fiction and non-fiction has been published internationally by Aperture, The Independent Newspaper, Dispatch Feminist Moving Image, Anathema: Spec from the Margins, Media Diversified, Skin Deep, Consented, CHEW Magazine and B. Dewitt Gallery.

Jay Bernard


Jay Bernard (FRSL FRSA) is a writer from London. Their work is interdisciplinary, critical, queer and rooted in the archive. They won the 2018 Ted Hughes Award for Surge: Side A, a cross-disciplinary exploration of the New Cross Fire in 1981. Jay’s short film Something Said has screened in the UK and internationally, including Aesthetica and Leeds International Film Festival (where it won best experimental and best queer short respectively), Sheffield DocFest and CinemAfrica. Jay is a programmer at BFI Flare, an archivist at Mayday Rooms and resident artist at Raven Row. Their first collection, Surge, is out with Chatto and Windus in 2019.



There is step-free access to all areas of Free Word and a number of other facilities available to make the venue accessible. 

  • Our box office, theatre and hall are all on the ground floor with step-free access from the street
  • Meeting rooms and offices are accessible by lift from the ground floor
  • There are two accessible toilets on the ground floor
  • Hearing loops are available at the box office and the theatre (when set up theatre style) and in all meeting rooms
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