Black History Month: Hitchin author to talk about first novel

Rasheda Ashanti Malcolm, who will be speaking about her first novel Swimming with Fishes at Hitchin

Rasheda Ashanti Malcolm, who will be speaking about her first novel Swimming with Fishes at Hitchin Library on Monday. Picture: Winsbert Wilson - Credit: Archant

A writer and playwright who grew up in Hitchin is set to return home to speak about her first novel as part of Black History Month.

Rasheda Ashanti Malcolm, who teaches creative writing in London, went to Highover Primary School during her childhood in North Herts – and she’ll be visiting Hitchin Library on Monday to speak about her debut novel.

The book, Swimming with Fishes, is a romance set in rural Jamaica.

Library manager Bekah Nicolas told the Comet: “We’re thrilled not only to welcome Rasheda to Hitchin Library to hear about her fantastic debut novel, but also for the opportunity to mark Black History Month and celebrate its 30th anniversary, alongside our full week of events celebrating Libraries Week.

“Swimming with Fishes is a wonderful, heartwarming read – and we’d love for as many people as possible to join us in welcoming Rasheda to the library as she returns to her hometown.”

Rasheda will be at Hitchin Library from 7.15pm on Monday evening, with tickets costing £5 from the library or

Rasheda’s visit also comes as part of National Libraries Week, and the team in Paynes Park have a whole programme of events lined up.

There will be toddler tales on Tuesday from 2pm to 3pm, and on Thursday there will be baby rhyme time with Bookstart Bear at 10.15am and 11.15am.

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On Friday, there will be a free e-services event from 10.30am to 12 noon and a quiz night from 7pm – with teams of up to six, prizes for the winning team and drink and cake on arrival.

Saturday will be a free activity day for kids and adults, with baby rhyme time from 10.15am, a Where’s Wally treasure hunt at 11am, storytime at 2pm and crafts from 2.45pm.

Children and adults are invited to come dressed as a favourite book character on Saturday.

Finally, the week will end with a one-woman show at 3pm on Sunday – Mrs Shaw Herself, about George Bernard Shaw’s wife Charlotte Payne-Townshend and featuring accompaniment on the Celtic harp.

Bekah said: “It will be brilliant to welcome lots of new and existing members to the library during this week.”

To find out more or join in, see or tweet the library using the handle @hitchinlibrary and hashtag #librariesweek.