A short talk for the (W)RITES OF PASSAGE panel  with Zakiya McKenzie and Victoria Whitworth. Watch Victoria’s talk on VIMEO: a beautiful meditation on bodily transformation, identity and swimming with seals. This was a beautiful and in-depth panel where our speakers talked identity, belonging and place. Unfortunately this livestream won’t be released on the CRASSH YouTube channel due to copyright reasons. If you missed the talks and would like to catch up, please visit the speakers’ websites to get in touch:

Zakiya McKenzie 

Zakiya Mckenzie is a Bristol-based writer and researcher. She was the 2019 writer-in-residence for Forestry England and 2017 Bristol Black and Green Ambassador. In 2017, she completed a Master of Research degree in Sustainable Futures at the University of Bristol focusing on the environmental and economic implications of “black gold” – petroleum – off Guyana’s shore. She is currently writing for a PhD at the University of Exeter researching Black British journalism in the post-war period. Zakiya is also a volunteer at Ujima 98FM community radio station in Bristol and she regularly leads naturebased art and writing workshops, including one on Caribbean storytelling for children. Zakiya has appeared on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Farming Today, Inside Out West and has written for Smallwoods and BBC Wildlife Magazines. Follow Zakiya’s work at

Victoria Whitworth 

Victoria is a novelist and academic who explores the culture and society of Britain in the Early Middle Ages, focusing on death, burial and memory. From 2012 to 2016 she was lecturer at the Centre for Nordic Studies on the Orkney campus of the University of the Highlands and Islands. She is the author of Dying and Death in Later Anglo-Saxon England (as Victoria Thompson); the novels The Bone Thief and The Traitors’ Pit (as VM Whitworth) and Daughter of the Wolf, all set in England’s Dark Ages. Her latest book, Swimming with Seals, is both an acclaimed memoir of life, death and swimming, and a treasure trove of the history, myth and archaeology of Orkney. Victoria lives with her daughter in Edinburgh. Read more at: