Nikki Amuka-Bird is a Nigerian born British actress

Her theatrical credits include Twelfth Night (Bristol Old Vic); World Music (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield and Donmar Warehouse); Top Girls (Oxford Stage Company); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest and The Servant of Two Masters (Royal Shakespeare Company); Doubt: A Parable (Tricycle Theatre). She is married to the actor Geoffrey Streatfield.


Her film credits include The Omen (2006 remake), Cargo, Almost Heaven as well as the screen adaptation of Alexander McCall Smith’s novel The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. On television, she has appeared in Spooks, The Line of Beauty, The Last Enemy, Robin Hood and Torchwood. She is currently playing Samantha Willis – the last surviving member of the government – in the reimagined BBC apocalyptic series Survivors. In 2010 she appeared as Det Supt Gaynor Jenkins in the BBC’s Silent Witness.

She appeared in the BBC adaptation of Andrea Levy’s award winning novel, Small Island, broadcast in December 2009.

* Silent Witness (BBC One TV Series) as Det Supt Gaynor Jenkins
* Small Island (BBC1, Autumn 2009)
* Survivors (BBC One TV Series, 2008 and 2010) as Samantha Willis MP
* The Disappeared (2008) as Shelley Cartwright
* The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (2008 screen adaptation) as Alice Busang
* The Last Enemy (2008 TV mini-series) as Susan Ross (unknown episodes)
* Torchwood (TV Series, 2008) as Beth Halloran/Sleeper Agent (one episode)
* The Whistleblowers (2007 TV Series) as Helen Errol (one episode)
* Five Days (2007 TV mini-series) as PC Simone Farnes
* Born Equal (2006 TV series) as Itshe
* Robin Hood (TV Series, 2006) as Abbess (1 episode)
* Spooks (TV Series 2006) as Michelle Lopez (1 episode)
* The Omen (2006) as Dr. Becker
* The Line of Beauty (TV Series 2006) as Rosemary Charles (2 episodes)
* Shoot the Messenger (2006) as Heather
* The True Voice of Prostitution (2006) (TV)
* Cargo (2006) as Subira
* Casualty @ Holby City as Moji Muzenda (3 episodes, 2005)
* Holby City (3 episodes, 1999-2005) as various
* Casualty as Moji Muzenda (1 episode, 2005)
* Afterlife (TV Series, 2005) Sandra Petch (1 episode)
* Almost Heaven (TV, 2005) as Rosie
* Silent Witness (TV Series, 2005) Simone Campbell (1 episode)
* Murder Prevention (TV Series, 2004) as Gemma (1 episode)
* Bad Girls (TV Series) as Paula Miles (8 episodes, 2003-2004)
* Canterbury Tales (TV Series, 2003) as Constance Musa (1 episode)
* Doctors (TV Series, 2000) as Nurse (1 episode)
* Safe as Houses (2000 TV series) as Carole (unknown episodes)
* Forgive and Forget (2000, TV) as Emma
* The Bill (TV Series, 1999) as Doreen West (1 episode)
* Grafters (TV mini-series, 1998) as Martha (unknown episodes)

Andrea Levy is an award winning novelist in London

Hat tip: Euromight

In 1948 Andrea Levy’s father sailed from Jamaica to England on the Empire Windrush ship and her mother joined him soon after. Andrea was born in London in 1956, growing up black in what was still a very white England. This experience has given her an complex perspective on the country of her birth.

Andrea Levy did not begin writing until she was in her mid-thirties. At that time there was little written about the black British experience in Britian. After attending writing workshops Levy began to write the novels that she, as a young woman, had always wanted to read – entertaining novels that reflect the experiences of black Britons, that look closely and perceptively at Britain and its changing population and at the intimacies that bind British history with that of the Caribbean. In her first three novels she explored – from different perspectives – the problems faced by black British-born children of Jamaican emigrants. In her first novel, the semi-autobiographical Every Light in the House Burnin’ (1994), the story is of a Jamaican family living in London in the 1960s. Never Far from Nowhere (1996), her second, is set during the 1970s and tells the story of two very different sisters living on a London council estate. In Fruit of the Lemon (1999), Faith Jackson, a young black woman, visits Jamaica after suffering a nervous breakdown and discovers a previously unknown personal history

In her fourth novel Small Island Levy examines the experiences of those of her father’s generation who returned to Britain after being in the RAF during the Second World War. But more than just the story of the Jamaicans who came looking for a new life in the Mother Country, she explores the adjustments and problems faced by the English people whom those Jamaicans came to live amongst. Immigration changes everyone’s lives and in Small Island Levy examines not only the conflicts of two cultures thrown together after a terrible war, but also the kindness and strength people can show to each other. The Second World War was a great catalyst that has led to the multi-cultural society Britain has become. For Andrea Levy acknowledging the role played by all sides in this change is an important part of understanding the process so we can go on to create a better future together.

In her latest novel, The Long Song, Levy goes further back to the origins of that intimacy between Britain and the Caribbean. The book is set in early 19th century Jamaica during the last years of slavery and the period immediately after emmancipation. It is the story of July, a house slave on a sugar plantation named Amity. The story is narrated by the character of July herself, now an old woman, looking back upon her eventful life.

Andrea Levy is a Londoner. She not only lives and works in the city she loves but has used London as the setting in many of her novels. She has been a recipient of an Arts Council Award and her second novel Never Far from Nowhere was long listed for the Orange Prize. Small Island was the winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Whitbread Novel Award, the Orange Best of the Best, and the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize. Besides novels she has also written short stories that have been read on radio, published in newspapers and anthologised. She has been a judge for the Orange Prize for Fiction, Orange Futures and the Saga Prize.

Women Enterprise and Procurement and reception in UK Parliament

Tuesday 20 April 2010, Panel 5pm for 5.30pm start/ Reception 7.15pm-9pm
House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW

If Women Business Owners were their own country, they would be the 5th largest GDP in the world.* Most of their businesses are small and medium sized enterprises (SME) which find it difficult to access public sector contracts.

Part of the problem in the UK is the simplification of the procurement process following on from the Gershon Review of 2004/05. The big companies (Tier One) win the contracts and subcontract some of the work to smaller companies (Tier Two). But all too often, this leads to an unfair relationship and the smaller businesses effectively carry the risk – and debts – for the larger contractor. The burden can cause SMEs to go out of business altogether. What should the UK Government do about it?

WiPP in the US successfully lobbied their Government for legislative changes resulting in a better deal for SMEs. Now, at least 23% of Government procurement must go to SMEs and at least 5% must go to women owned businesses. Should the UK do the same?

Is there a private sector solution? For example, WEConnect is already connecting women owned companies with large corporations. They seek to create sustainable economic growth by increasing the opportunities for women-owned businesses to succeed in the global value chain.

And what about Directives and Laws from Europe? Should the discussion be taking place there rather than in Britain? The Genesis Initiative believes so and is working to achieve reform of all EU Government SME Procurement Law.

Chaired by:

Rt Hon Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean
WiPP Co-chairman

Discussion Panel:

Jennifer Biscegli
WiPP (US) Board Director, President of InTEROS Solutions Inc

Joy Nichols MBE
CEO, GMB2 Group and Member of the Genesis Initiative

Nieves Childerley
Senior Procurement Manager, London Development Agency

Virginia Littlejohn
CEO of Quantum Leaps, and Chairman of TradeBuilders Inc

Elizabeth Vazquez
Executive Director WEConnect International, and President of TradeBuilders Inc

Sue Lawton
CEO, WEConnect Europe

Marie-Christine Oghly
President and European Commissioner FCEM (World Association of Women Entrepreneurs), & President of EnginSoft, France

Dagmar Steinmetz
Assistant Secretary General FCEM, and Managing Director DDS Consult GmbH, Germany

Register online at

Colleen Harris – Crafting Issue-Based Communications Messages in the UK



Colleen Harris is a trailblazer in the dynamic world of public relations and communications in the UK. Here is a really brief breakdown of Colleen Harris’ background and accomplishments:

Colleen is a portfolio executive with substantial communications expertise.

Colleen held a senior communications position at 10 Downing Street, the 1st Black woman to work at Downing Street (in Mrs Thatcher’s press office), before being appointed Press Secretary to HRH the Prince of Wales, Prince William and Prince Harry.

More recently Colleen was Strategy and Communications Director at the Commission for Racial Equality and interim Group-Director of Communications at the new Equality & Human Rights Commission.

Colleen is a Member of Council at the Royal Albert Hall, sits on the Press Complaints Commission and the new Channel 4Radio strategy board. She is a Director at Colleen Harris Associates and a Director at Dignity Management Consultancy.

Colleen was awarded her MVO in 2003 for work with the Royal Family. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Visit the websites of Colleen Harris Associates and Dignity Management Consultants.

Zina Saro-Wiwa: A triple threat in the UK

Zina Saro-Wiwa is a triple threat: filmaker, writer and musician.

Zina is the founder of AfricaLab. AfricaLab is a production company dedicated to changing the way the world sees Africa through visual media, principally film and art. We produce films and run contemporary art projects that are explicitly designed to populate the world with fresh and fascinating images and stories from Africa’s 53 nations and her diaspora. AfricaLab’s first major project is called This Is My Africa.

View an excerpt:

You can read one of her works of fiction on Sable Lit.

Listen to her music via her MySpace page.

Alexandra Burke, X Factor winner with #1 Christmas song in UK


Alexandra started singing around the house when she was just 5. At 9 years old she sang on stage in Bahrain with her mother, one of the singers from ‘Soul to Soul’, and the audience loved her. From that moment onwards she was hooked on performing.

At the age of 12 years Alexandra entered ‘Star for a Night’ where she was the youngest person in the competition but was beaten to the no.1 spot by Joss Stone. When she first started school she was bullied because she won all the singing competitions and was in all of the school choirs. As time went on the bullying resided and she now has fond memories of school. She left school after her GCSEs to pursue a career in music.

Read her full biography on Alexandra’s site.