Edinburgh's Radical Bookshop

Revolutionary Acts : Jason Okundaye on Love & Brotherhood in Black Gay Britain

28.05.2024 : 19:00 - 20:00
Lighthouse Bookshop, 43-45 West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh EH8 9DB
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Featured Speakers

Jason Okundaye & Mohamed Tonsy

An Evening Of Love & Revolution With Jason Okundaye

We are over the moon to be hosting Jason Okundaye and this radical work of social history. Rendered from the lives of seven Black gay men in Brixton, Revolutionary Acts takes us through the gossip, the fights, the political wars, the sex, the losses and the activism, to an extraordinary community ready to tell its story.

'Okundaye has done something extraordinary and made this work of vital social history seem like a late night, electrifying conversation between good friends . . . [he] generously allows the reader to discover these lives as they were actually lived: thrilling and furious, sexy and scandalous’ – SHON FAYE, author of The Transgender Issue

'The seven Black gay men of this radical oral history have continuously shown up for us, highlighting the nuances of race, class and desire that reverberate through every “progress” motion, while giving us juicy dialogue, tears and laughter, and vivid landscapes of memory . . . this seminal book hands them the flowers they deserve' – MENDEZ, author of Rainbow Milk

About the book:

Announcing the arrival of a major new talent, an astonishing work of social history which captures Black gay Britain in inimitable detail.

In this landmark work, Jason Okundaye meets an elder generation of Black gay men and finds a spirited community full of courage, charisma and good humour, hungry to tell its past – of nightlife, resistance, political fights, loss, gossip, sex, romance and vulgarity. Through their conversations he seeks to reconcile the Black and gay narratives of Britain, narratives frequently cleaved as distinct and unrelated.

Tracing these men’s journeys and arrivals to South London through the seventies, eighties and nineties from the present day, Okundaye relays their stories with rare compassion, listening as they share intimate memories and reflect upon their lives. They endured and fought against the peak of the AIDS epidemic, built social groups and threw underground parties; they went to war with institutions (and with each other) and created meaning within a society which was often indifferent to their existence.

Revolutionary Acts renders a singular portrait of Britain from the perspective of those buffeted by the winds of marginalisation and discrimination. It is a portrait marked by resilience and self-determination, inspired by the love and beauty Black men have found within each other.

So join us in the lead-up to pride month for an evening of tender, loving and revolutionary histories with Jason who will be chaired by our very own Mohamed Tonsy!

'What sung to me beyond the clear vitality within the words was its ability to make the history and lives of our subcultures so tantalising, alive, tender, playful and an addictive read. I can’t wait to tell everyone to read this book’ – TRAVIS ALABANZA, author of None of the Above

'Revolutionary Acts doesn't just recover and expand queer British history: it shocks it back to life’ – SEÁN HEWITT, author of All Down Darkness Wide

‘This brilliantly crafted, humanising and entertainingly gossipy read has joined the canon of Black British and queer social histories. It is a book that must be read and owned’ – SYMEON BROWN

'Exceptionally beautiful . . . Okundaye takes care to render these men in all their complexity. These are extraordinary stories about real, complicated men' – RACHEL CONNOLLY


About the author: Jason Okundaye was born in 1997 in South London, where he remains. His essays and features have been published in the Guardian, Evening Standard, British GQ and the London Review of Books, amongst others. Revolutionary Acts is his first book.

About the chair: Mohamed Tonsy (he/هو) is a queer Egyptian writer and ceramicist. His writing has appeared in Mizna, Epoch Press, won a Quarterly John Byrne Award and was Shortlisted for MFest’s 2021 Short Story Competition. His debut novel, You Must Believe in Spring was published in 2022 by Hajar Press.

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