Sharmilla Beezmohun has worked in publishing since 1994, trained at Virago and Heinemann (African and Caribbean Writers series). She co-founded Speaking Volumes Live Literature Productions in 2010 with Sarah Sanders, which platforms diverse writers from the UK and abroad. Highlights of Speaking Volumes tours include: a Ranting Poetry UK tour with working-class political poets old and new; two tours with Jamaica’s previous poet Laureate Mervyn Morris; and Breaking Ground, a series of events in the USA, Europe and Britain featuring British writers of colour.
Previous work includes eleven years as Deputy Editor of Wasafiri, the Magazine of International Contemporary Writing. During this time she published early work by authors including the lauded Irish playwright Jaki McCarrick, whose plays have since been staged across the USA, award-winning British novelist Christie Watson and St Lucian poet Vladimir Lucien, the youngest recipient to date of the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.
In 2010 Sharmilla’s first novel, Echoes of a Green Land, was published in translation in Spain as Ecos de la tierra verde. She edited Continental Shifts, Shifts in Perception: Black Cultures and Identities in Europe (2016) and, with Sarah White and Roxy Harris, co-edited A Meeting of the Continents: The International Book Fair of Radical Black and Third World Books (2005). Her work has been published in various journals and translated into Finnish.
Sharmilla is a Trustee of Carcanet Publishers, Modern Poetry in Translation magazine and the George Padmore Institute, an archive housing a number of unique collections of material from pioneering Black British political and cultural organisations of the last 70 years. She is also on the international organising committee of AfroEuropes, a cross-continent academic and cultural network which has hosted conferences in Spain, the UK, Germany, Finland (and Portugal, to be held in 2019).
Fellows are nominated by peers and elected by our Council of writers – our governing Board. Being elected a Fellow of the RSL is a lifetime honour. This role gives them the opportunity to support other writers, readers and the future of literature. The RSL connects writers in the Fellowship to one another, and to a wider readership.