Subscribe to the Silver Press newsletter and get 10% off in our shop!

Zong Anniversary

M. NourbeSe Philip will be presenting the first online global iteration of the annual durational reading of Zong!, her acclaimed book-length poem, from November 30, 2020 to December 9, 2020. The closing reading is hosted by Plug-In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg, Manitoba. On the other days, readings will be prerecorded, uploaded and broadcast over streaming platforms. Tickets are available here.

The 10-day durational reading commemorates the massacre of some 150 enslaved Africans, which began on 29 November 1781 and continued for the following 10 days. In its eighth year of production, there will be prerecorded readings/collective performances of the text, interspersed by three live simultaneous collective readings.

Zong! Global 2020 will take place within the current context of the worldwide uprising against anti-Black racism, sparked by the lynching of George Floyd on May 25th 2020, as well the 2015 United Nations declaration of the International Decade for People of African Descent. In remembering Black lives lost on board the slave ship Zong, as well as Black lives that continue to be unnecessarily lost or taken today, Zong! Global 2020 enacts an indispensable form of grief work.

Visit for live and recorded performances.


Nov 30, 2020 - Opening

Time: 1:30 p.m. EST

Dec 5, 2020

Time: 3:30 p.m. EST

Dec 9, 2020 - Closing: Hosted by Plug–In Gallery 

Time: 7:00 p.m. EST 


Dec 1 - 4, Dec 6 - 8

Watch: previous readings

Below are videos of some of the sixty-plus readings/performances of Zong! that NourbeSe has presented in nine countries. These events include eight annual durational collective readings held on the anniversary of the Zong massacre.


This clip begins with the 2015 durational reading and include excerpts from 2013 durational reading, a performance at Arika in Glasgow, Scotland,  in , an improv performance and choreography inspired by Zong! by dancer Ida Mara Freire, all in 2013.

This clip has video excerpts that include: names of Africans that are part of Zong!, projected on the night sky as it would have been over West Africa at the end of November 1781, and accompanied by whale song; the 2018 performance at the Royal Ontario Museum, held in the presence of  reliquary figures and artifacts from the museum’s collection; the Living Memorial for the Victims of the Zong Massacre perfumed in Miami’s historic Virginia Key Beach Park in 2018; the 2015 collective durational reading, Zong! Behind Closed Doors, featuring dance by Vivene Scarlett; and the 2016 durational reading also featuring Vivene.

Other videos are available on NourbeSe’s YouTube channel

Share this post