The Hay 30 – Eric NGALLE CHARLES

Eric Ngalle Charles was born in Cameroon. It has taken him over sixteen years to be able to write about the various incidents that took place in Wovilla, Cameroon that made him leave his village. In doing so, he became a victim of human trafficking and ended up with a one-way student visa to Russia instead of Belgium.

Eric is a writer, poet and playwright, and runs Black Entertainment Wales, an Arts organisation that provides a platform for artists in the BMEs communities to showcase their work. He has edited and published Between a Mountain and a Sea, Soft Touch, Nobody’s Perfect, and Festival of the Wolves – poetry anthologies by refugees, other migrants and indigenous artists in collaboration with Hafan books and Dr Tom Chessman. My first play, My Mouth Brought Me Here, was showcased at Encampment in London Southbank. It is a play based around my poetry and an Old West African Proverb and it explores the themes of migration, language, freedom of expression and dictatorship.
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The Hay 30 is made possible by the generous support of the CASE foundation.

All Events for this artist

Hay Festival 2018

Eric Ngalle Charles and Owen Sheers

The Last Ritual

Hay Festival 2018, 

A performance of the new one-man play by the Cameroon-born playwright and actor, now a Creative Wales Fellow, is followed by a conversation with Owen Sheers about the work and Charles’ extraordinary life. The Last Ritual is based on the author’s last days in the village of Small Soppo in Buea, Cameroon. It looks at love and ultimate betrayal, exploring the theme of witchcraft and the practice of it.

Hay Digital 2020

Eric Ngalle Charles talks to Peter Florence

I, Eric Ngalle: One Man's Journey Crossing Continents from Africa to Europe

Hay Digital 2020, 

We celebrate the extraordinary autobiography of the Wales-based playwright and poet. Eric Ngalle thought he was leaving Cameroon for a better life... Instead of arriving in Belgium to study for a degree in economics he ended up in one of the last countries he would have chosen to visit - Russia. Having seen his passport stolen, Eric endured nearly two years battling a hostile environment as an illegal immigrant while struggling with the betrayal that tore his family apart and prompted his exit. This painfully honest and often brutal account of being trapped in a subculture of deceit and crime gives a rare glimpse behind the headlines of a global concern.

Buy the book at Waterstones

Hay Festival 2017

Eric Ngalle Charles, Chantal Erraoui, Hannah Lloyd, Elena Carys and Joe Tweedle

Play: My Mouth Brought Me Here

Hay Festival 2017, 

Deep in a forest, a hunter comes across a skull, he steps on the skull and the skull speaks saying, “My mouth brought me here”. Based on an African proverb, the piece features a power-hungry rule, a wise sage and a courageous hunter. In a world where telling the truth has become a game, no one knows the rules. This is a rare chance to hear Eric narrate his poetry in a solo production of the piece. The production is brought to life with live music and enchanting story telling. Directed by Peter Scott for 3 Crate Productions and written by Eric Ngalle Charles. Following the show, Ngalle will talk to Owen Sheers.

In association with PEN Cymru Wales

Hay Festival 2019

Eric Ngalle Charles

Death on the Third Floor

Hay Festival 2019, 

Are those not dark shadows lurking inside the house I once called home? “From attempting mass murder against my father’s family in the village of Small Soppo, Buea, in Cameroon, to becoming a victim of human trafficking; from living and barely surviving the streets of Moscow, to strip dancing, and buying and selling fake dollars…” A riveting and deeply moving play based on true events shaped from the life of the writer Eric Ngalle Charles, recipient of a Creative Wales Award. Directed by Bafta winner Greg Lewis.

Hay Festival 2018

Meltem Arikan, Menna Elfyn, George Gumisiriza, Rebecca John, Eric Ngalle Charles, Ben Rawlence

Wales PEN Cymru: Speaking for Ourselves

Hay Festival 2018, 

The focus of the PEN chapter this year is to defend and support minority languages within ethnic communities in Wales. When we are given the confidence and liberty to speak for ourselves in our mother tongues as much as in our acquired speech, we demonstrate the diversity, persistence and vitality of language. Three Welsh and three refugee writers are here to speak for themselves and to invite you into the local and global PEN alliance of writers working to promote international freedom of expression and linguistic equality.

Hay Festival 2019

Poetry Comics Workshop

Hay Festival 2019, 

Join poet Eric Ngalle Charles and artist Nicky Arscott for a unique art workshop experimenting with words and pictures, and exploring identity, language and storytelling to create your own personal poetry comic.

11 - 16