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Afrori Books & The Feminist Bookshop have teamed up to create a brand new festival for our city. After a phenomenal first year we are back with an even bigger festival for 2023.

Brighton Book Festival 2023 is a series of over 20 events across independent bookshop week to celebrate the power of books with our community.

The programme includes activities for children and adults across generations such as a family festival, workshops and poetry nights. Find out more here.


Our aim is to inspire and enable writers at every stage in their careers to share their work and to champion the power of the written word to enrich and change lives. 

We seek to amplify a wide spectrum of voices, to connect readers and authors in new ways and to promote compelling and challenging writing, with special attention to work that engages with pressing social issues or that might otherwise be excluded or marginalised.

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Carolynn Bain


Founder of Afrori Books

"If I had to put who I am in any kind of order I am first a Christian Black woman. I am also a mother, a bookseller, an activist, a mentor, a lyricist and a wife." 


In 2020 Caroylnn opened an online bookshop that created a one stop-shop for books by black authors. In 2021, following a very successful crowdfund, she opened a bricks and mortar shop in the heart of Brighton. Afrori Books now has the biggest selection of books by black authors in the UK. Giving a platform to over 2000 black authors through their shop and social media channels.

Ruth Wainwright


Founder and owner of The Feminist Bookshop in Brighton - a bookshop, coffee shop and events space which advocates for intersectional feminism and seeks to promote the work of self-identifying female and non-binary writers.


Ruth also works with local charities and advocacy groups to champion their work in the community, hosting fundraisers for organisations including Survivors Network, Rise, Brighton Women’s Centre, Thousand 4 £1000 and Reclaim the NIght Brighton.



Mangement Consultant

Althea Wolfe is a freelance management consultant with 10 years of senior management experience in luxury retail and 20 years experience as a consultant to the voluntary and public sectors. Her areas of expertise include strategic management & planning, volunteer programme development &  race equality.


She has led several BAME community engagement projects and is a trustee of several local charities serving Black and Minority Ethnic communities. She is a founding member of Legacy Film Festival and Sistas by the Sea.

Core Team


Manager of Afrori Books

Oliviyah is an activist, feminist, artist and musician. She is the manager of Afrori Books and loves doing anything that doesn’t involve cheese scones or running. She’s been whizzing through books since she was a kid and has mastered the skill of constantly adding books to the enormous pile in her room. 


She’s a big fan of fantasy novels and her current favourite is The Deep by Rivers Solomon.



Principal Lecturer in English Literature


Pauline Rutter is the founder of The Black Living Archive, an artist and researcher. Since 2021 she has been Afrori Books Poet on the Sofa. Her background in fine art, education, sustainability and activism show up in her academic and creative writing most recently published in the Writing Our Legacy ‘Covert’ Literary Magazine Edition 2.


Pauline holds degrees in Fine Art and in Education, a Master’s in International Business Management and an Advanced Diploma in Environmental Management. She continues to write about the pathways seeded by our perceptions of history, community, equity and climate and environmental justice.


Community Animateur

A fairly new edition to Brighton community imported from Poland via Stoke on Trent. With her BA in Indian Studies, MA in Culture Studies and 7 years experience working for the New Vic Theatre in North Staffordshire, after years of traveling she decided to settle in Hove and become a founder of a family of 5.


Looking for a place she could call Home she walked into Afrori Bookshop and stayed. Inspired by their energy and impact on the community she decided to offer her time and skill set of a Cultural Animateur to support the Book festival this year. As a dyslexic bookworm she is dedicated to bringing the world of books to a wider audiences. 

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Dr Vedrana Velickovic is a Principal Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Brighton where she teaches modules on Black British writing, queer, postcolonial and European literatures.


She is a Trustee of New Writing South and co-founder of the student-staff DeCol Collective. She has co-organised two international conferences on Black British Women's Writing and has been on the programming team of the Coast is Queer Literary festival since its inception. She is currently leading an AHRC-funded community partnership project with Afrori Books and Diversity Lewes.


Staff Team



Social Media Manager

Ysabel is a freelance social media consultant and singer-songwriter. Known for her powerful storytelling and honest communication, she brings the spirit and message of the festival to life on screen.



Events Manager

Maya is a Creative Writing student, poet, mother of one small human and one large dog, she is also a freelance Small Business Consultant and collector of books.



Fundraising Manager

Robert is a freelance fundraising consultant. He works in arts administration, grant-writing, development, event production, and company management.

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