Categories
Archive

Gambia 2000

It was January 2000 when I first visited the beautiful Gambia on a writers’ retreat organised by Kadija George.  It brought me into contact with likeminded black writers and here we are on the front page of a Gambian newspaper, I’m third from the left. I came across the advert for the writers retreat at the ACFF Centre in Hyson Green, sadly ACFF no longer exists.

It was here that I began to really think about being published. I had been freelancing as a writer since the mid 1990s and wanted to make that break away from working a 9-5 job.  I knew being published would help me up the writing ladder, and it did.

Unfortunately I wasn’t getting the writing support I needed in Nottingham and so I had to look further a field. I’d like to say things have changed in my city and that writing opportunities for black writers are jus as equal as our non-black counterparts but sadly that is not the case. Shortly after my retreat in Gambia I had a poem published in an anthology by Penguin Press.

Categories
Archive

Bygone Days.

Over twenty years ago I had the opportunity to meet James Berry and show him my work as a struggling new writer. Berry was a Jamaican poet who settled in England in the 1940s. His poetry is notable for using a mixture of standard English and Jamaican Patois. I can remember wanting to be a published writer like him. I made it!

James Berry and me

Categories
Books

Fully Booked

‘Fully booked’ that’s just how I like it!  Days before the launch of Clever Girls, edited by Jackie Goode and featuring a chapter contribution from me, tickets were SOLD OUT. The launch took place at Five Leaves Bookshop on Thursday, 30th January 2020, a great way to start the new year. It was moving listening to my Clever Girl crew talk about  overcoming obstacles. That’s Dr. Jackie Goode in the centre holding the anthology, published by Palgrave Macmillan.

There months prior to the launch I had the pleasure of opening NTU Creative Writing Hub’s first ever event on 1 October 2019, at Five Leaves Bookshop. Helen Tookey headlined with Hannah Cooper-Smithson, and Lauren Terry also supporting alongside me. Nottingham Creative Writing Hub is the central place for writers at Nottingham Trent University, hosted by the Department of English, Philosophy and Communications.

 

Categories
Books

Clever Girls

Clever Girls is a collection of 15 autoethnographies by three generations of women from predominantly working-class backgrounds. It explores the production of the classed, gendered and racialized subject with powerful, engaging, funny and moving stories of transitions through family relationships, education, friendships and work. My chapter is ‘Things You Wouldn’t Say to Your Daughters’ (chapter 9).

Since the publication in December 2019, we have had a book launch at Five Leaves Bookshop, and were guests on Woman’s Hour.

Categories
Books

Some Things

2018 really was a good year, especially within the context of 2020 and Covid 19. I finally had a collection of poetry titled, ‘Some Things’ published through  the fantastic http://www.burningeye.co.uk/. I was really thankful to both Jacob Ross and Henry Normal for their comments which feature on the back of my book. The front cover was designed by Keith Piper and the manuscript was proof read by Prof. Sharon Monteith.

The launch was held at Five Leaves Bookshop. I was so nervous, I thought I wouldn’t get an audience but I did. It was humbling to see so many people turn out for me.

Categories
Archive

A letter from James Berry

The writer’s journey can be daunting, well at least it was for me over 20 years ago. It was during this beginning phase that I craved, support, validation, and most of all courage. I was fortunate in 1997 to meet James Berry, he was reading at the ACFF Centre in Hyson Green, Nottingham at one of the many events coordinated by the Director Len Garrison. I can’t quite remember all that we chatted about but I do have a letter that James sent me. I’ve kept his letter along with the  two books and a cassette tape he gifted me. It was to be one of many connections with black writers that would boost my confidence and set me on the trail to leave a mark as a writer. Thank you James Berry and may you rest in Peace.

James Berry letter

Categories
Events

A Pause

Nottingham City Arts are inviting the people of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire to add their words to a poem that reflects the times we are going through. The theme is ‘A Pause’. And guess what?! I’ll be turning those words and ideas into a poem. City Arts will then make this into a film and publish it online. 

City Arts and I would like you to think about:

What does the word ‘pause’ mean to you?

What is it important to pause for: a pause for thought, a pause for thanks, a pause for concern?

What does ‘a pause’ mean to people your age? How is this meaning different for people of other ages?

How has the meaning of a ‘pause’ changed over the years?

Who should take part?

If you live in Nottingham/Nottinghamshire we would love to hear your ideas!

We are particularly interested in hearing from older people and young people who have an important older person in their lives. We would like to hear your different views on the theme. Find out more here: City Arts

Categories
Archive

Early Days

Word Up was one of my earliest performance gigs, 1997. A good egg called Tom Martin opened up space for me to develop my skills and gain wider exposure as a struggling writer. The performance at Nottingham City Arts led to me being filmed for Central Television’s Premiere. Here is the news clipping from the Nottingham Evening Post and the publicity material. I actually took the photograph of me. I used some kind of gadget to capture the shot. It’s funny back then I knew I had a liking for photography but with a young family and battling to be freelance I just felt I didn’t have the time to take it up seriously.

Categories
About

LeftLion – Snap Notts: Attenborough Nature Reserve

This month’s latest installment of Snap Notts – the series where photographers and poets are paired up and sent to an area to get inspired…
— Read on www.leftlion.co.uk/read/2018/july/snap-notts-attenborough-nature-reserve/