The highly anticipated novel about child marriage Harmattan by Gavin Weston will be launched in London on 11 October at an event to mark International Day of the Girl Child by the author himself and The Foundation for Women’s Health, Research & Development (FORWARD), An African Diaspora women led campaign and support charity dedicated to advancing and safeguarding the sexual and reproductive health and rights of African girls and women.

As well as hearing more about  the global scale of child marriage, its disproportionate effects on the girl child and FORWARD’s work to end this practice, the guests will have a chance to view slide show of photography from the FORWARD project with child mothers in Tanzania, enjoy music by Bumi Thomas, a drinks reception and an opportunity to have copies  Harmattan signed by the author.

Special guests on the night will be Girls Not Brides, a global partnership of over 180 organisations (including FORWARD) working to end child marriage all over the world, Bumi Thomas, FORWARD Ambassador and a dynamic contemporary African, acoustic Jazz-folk-soul singer and songwriter whose style is inspired by her multicultural heritage and  freelance photographer Chiara Ceolin who has found in photography a way to share people’s stories, focusing on social issues and human rights.

Set against the stark beauty of sub-Saharan West Africa, Harmattan is evocative and heart-wrenching. Suffused with an anger that is all the more powerful for its masterful understatement, this is a story that will be talked about for years to come. Weston’s debut novel, based on real life experiences and accounts from his time living in Niger, portrays the devastating effects that child marriage has on girls.

Born in Belfast, author Gavin Weston is a multi-media artist, writer, lecturer and inventor. He studied Fine Art at Saint Martin’s School of Art and Design and Goldsmiths’ College, London, and subsequently worked and taught in Niger. Gavin is passionate about ending child marriage and works tirelessly as a FORWARD Ambassador to raise awareness.

The key areas of work for FORWARD female genital mutilation (FGM), child marriage and related rights abuses of girls and young women.

More information- Tel: 020 8960 4000 www.forwarduk.org.uk

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