Liberating Languages | Free Word

2 June 2020

Presented by:
English PEN


A Conversation with Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Damian Le Bas and Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún

How are the languages we use subject to systems of power? What kind of cultural resistance and creation emerges from switching between dominant languages and mother tongues?


Read this immersive conversation with English PEN and writers Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún, Damian Le Bas and Victoria Adukwei Bulley exploring language as resistance and language in isolation with a focus on Gypsy, Traveller and Roma (GTR) languages, Ga and Yorùbá. Click here to read the article.


2 June 2020

English PEN


English PEN

English PEN is the founding centre of the international association of writers. It promotes the freedom to write and the freedom to read.

Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún

Linguist and Writer

Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún is a linguist, writer, scholar, and language advocate born in Ìbàdàn, Nigeria. He was educated there, in Kenya, and in the United States. His debut collection of poetry, Edwardsville by Heart, was published by Wisdom’s Bottom Press, Oxford, in 2018. He has also worked as a literary translator from English to Yorùbá and from Yorùbá to English. His language advocacy earned him the Premio Ostana in 2016, a prize given by Chambra D’Oc in Italy, for work and advocacy in the mother tongue, becoming the first African so-honoured. He’s currently a Chevening Research Fellow at the British Library in London.

Damian Le Bas

Writer and Filmmaker

Damian Le Bas is a writer and filmmaker from the south coast of England. His first book, The Stopping Places: a Journey through Gypsy Britain, was published by Chatto & Windus in 2018. It won the Somerset Maugham Award, a Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award, was BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week and shortlisted for the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year. In 2019 Damian presented the critically acclaimed documentary A Very British History: Romany Gypsies on BBC Four.

Victoria Adukwei Bulley

Poet, Writer and Filmmaker

Victoria Adukwei Bulley is a poet, writer and filmmaker. Winner of a 2018 Eric Gregory Award for promising British poets under 30, she has held residencies in the USA, Brazil, and the V&A Museum in London. Her debut pamphlet is Girl B, and she is the director of MOTHER TONGUES, a poetry, translation and film project exploring the indigenous language heritages of black and brown poets. Victoria is a doctoral candidate at Royal Holloway, University of London, where she is the recipient of a 2019 Technē scholarship for practice-based research in Creative Writing.