Easy on the Rose's: The Collected Works of Dinesh Allirajah
Before his untimely death in December 2014, Dinesh Allirajah was one of the most prolific, versatile and admired authors working in the North of England. To mark Dinesh's birthday, Bluecoat and Comma Press celebrate the launch of his collected works, bringing together his stories, poems, monologues and blogs, with readings from fellow writers, editors and admirers.
Dinesh believed in the liberating and educative power of the arts. He was chair of the National Association for Literature Development (1995-97) and Catalyst Dance and Drama (1999-2001), a founding board member in 2005 of Literature Northwes,; chair of the trustees of the National Black Arts Alliance from 2002 and director of Comma Press publishers from 2012.
During the 1990’s he worked as a literacy and creative writing teacher, running workshops in community centres, schools and prisons, and latterly lecturing and tutoring at Liverpool John Moores University and the universities of Central Lancashire and Edge Hill, Liverpool. He was also a writer in residence at Liverpool Hope University.
His poetry, song lyrics and stories was published by Sable magazine, Peepal Tree Press, Spike Books, The Windows Project, Comma Press, Moving Worlds magazine and Amauta Publications. He entranced audiences with performances of his work in the UK, France, Poland, Germany, Bangladesh and Nigeria.
Dinesh was born in Kensington, central London, son of Evelyn, an English teacher, and Sivam, an engineer, and grew up in Upper Norwood with his brother, Duleep. Both his parents were from Sri Lanka – his father was Tamil and his mother Sinhalese – and Dinesh’s heritage informed his creative passions and teaching.
He left Liverpool University with a BA in modern history and an MA in ethnic studies. His dissertation was titled Groove in Tongues: The Radical Potential of Black British Poetry. At university he had begun promoting jazz and club nights with friends. In 1989 they moved to radio, first to the Liverpool pirate station Toxteth Community Radio and then to Choice FM. In 1992 Dinesh was a co-founder of the poetry performance collective, Asian Lives, Asian Voices. For many years he worked alongside George McKane, the founder and director of Yellow House on art projects with young people.
Having dedicated much of his life to enabling others to write, he recently mused on his blog Real Time Short Stories that at last – while apparently recovering from an operation – he had time to write himself. He will be remembered for his humour, and as a generous, supportive and trusting soul with an encyclopedic knowledge of writers matched by his love of music (jazz in particular) and cricket.
He is survived by his fiancee, Vic, two sons, Bruno and Rufus, from a previous relationship, his mother and his brother.
Venue: Bluecoat School Lane, Liverpool, Merseyside L1 3BX
Date: Friday 6th May
Tickets: Free BOOK TICKETS HERE
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