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For Black History Month, Gray’s Inn will be hosting a panel discussion on Black crime fiction with authors Leye Adenle, Amen Alonge, Dorothy Koomson, Nadine Matheson, Dreda Say Mitchell and critic Ayo Onatade.

Drinks will be provided upon arrival. Guests are invited to attend the Bridge Bar after the event.


Six photographs of the speakers of the event
From left to right: Dreda Say Mitchell, Amen Alonge, Nadine Matheson, Ayo Onatade, Leye Adenle, Dorothy Koomson


Leye Adenle is the author of the award winning The Amaka thriller series (Easy Motion Tourist, When Trouble Sleeps, and Unfinished Business out in October 2022) and speculative fiction novel, The Beautiful Side of the Moon.His short story, The Assassination, from the anthology, Sunshine Noir, was a finalist for the 2017 CWA Short Story Dagger award.

Amen Alonge was born in Lagos and moved to London as a teenager almost 20 years ago. He took a Master’s Degree at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, then worked as an engineer. He went on to take a screenwriting course at London Film Academy and, for a while, ran the family business, a sports media company that owned the global licensing rights for the Nigerian Football League. He has changed careers since, and is currently training to become a solicitor. Amen lives in London with his wife and their son. His debut novel A Good Day to Die was published by Quercus in 2022.

Ayo Onatade is an award winning freelance crime fiction critic/commentator, moderator and blogger. She has written a number of articles on different aspects of crime fiction and has also given papers on the subject as well. She was a contributor to British Crime Writing: An Encyclopaedia (2008) edited by Barry Forshaw and The American Thriller (Critical Insights) (2014) edited by Gary Hoppenstand. She is co-editor with Len Tyler of the anthology Bodies in the Bookshop (2014). She is a former Chair of the CWA Short Story Dagger and former judge of the Ngaio Marsh Award. She is the current Chair of the HWA (Historical Writers Association) Debut Crown and also currently one of the judges for the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger and the Chair of the 2022 Bloody Scotland McIlvanney Prize. She is an Associate Member and a Committee Member of the Crime Writers Association of Great Britain (CWA). She is also an Advisory Committee Board Member for Capital Crime.

Dorothy Koomson – known as the ‘Queen of the Big Reveal’ – is an award-winning, global bestselling author of 18 novels. Her books have been translated into more than 30 languages with sales that exceed 2.5 million copies in the UK alone. Dorothy’s books are powerful, thought-provoking, and compelling psychological thrillers where moral dilemmas are central and where the complex emotions of family and friendships are explored. Her novels The Ice Cream Girls and The Rose Petal Beach were both shortlisted for the British Book Awards in 2010 and 2013 respectively, and a TV adaptation loosely based on The Ice Cream Girls was first shown on ITV1 in 2013. Dorothy uses her platform to support new writers and is the creator of ‘The Happy Author’ podcast. She was a judge for the 2021 Grazia and Women’s Prize for Fiction First Chapter competition and a judge for the 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction. She is also a regular speaker in libraries and supports the work of Little Green Pig, a Brighton and Hove based charity that offers free writing workshops for young people in need. Dorothy lives in Brighton (well, Hove, actually) and the city is an ever-present character in her novels.

Nadine Matheson lives in London and is a Criminal Solicitor and lecturer. In 2016, she won the City University Crime Writing Competition and completed the Creative MA at City University of London with Distinction in 2018. In 2019, The Jigsaw Man was won by HQ (HarperCollins) in a six-publisher auction. The best-selling Jigsaw Man was published in 2021, has been translated into 15 languages and optioned for television. Her second novel, The Binding Room, featuring DI Henley and the Serial Crimes Unit was published in July 2022.

Dreda Say Mitchell’s first novel, Running Hot was published in 2004 by the Maia Press and won the Crime Writers’ Association’s John Creasey Memorial Dagger Award for best first novel – the first time a Black British writer has received this honour. Since then, she has established a reputation as one of the UK’s leading crime novelists. Dreda’s latest bestseller Say Her Name, written with long-time collaborator Ryan Mason, was described by Lee Child as ‘my book of the year so far’. Other publications include psychological thriller Spare Room, Vendetta, Death Trap and the series’ of Gangster Girls and Flesh and Blood. Dreda, who grew up on a housing estate in East London, is also a broadcaster, journalist and freelance education consultant describing herself as a ‘complete busybody’.

Event details

Location: Gray’s Inn

Date and time: Monday 17 October, 6.30 – 8.30pm

Who can attend: Open to all, with up to two guests

Dress code: Smart casual

Cost: Free

How to book

Book online via the Gray’s Inn Online System (GIOS).

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