So for someone who likes to talk and perform poetry, I have realised that talking about myself is sometimes a huge issue dependant on how I’m feeling that day! Performative speech is fine but tell me to talk about feelings and jeez, I start to run a mile in my head. I’m learning that there is real beauty in being honest about our vulnerabilities and that in some way, shape or form, we all have them!
Luckily, I had lots to say in the interview below with Commonword – a collective that provides great support to BAME and/or queer writers. I remember tentatively stepping into their offices a few years ago, having just finished an undergrad degree in English & Criminology and devoting a decade to raising kids. Trust me, I was worried this mind was rusty and that studying had killed my creativity. Pensive, reluctant to share my work, crippled by very little confidence and self-belief, I shared a poem called ‘Patience’ and then cried at the response. The journey ever since has been amazing.
With an anthology launch last Friday ( see previous blog post ), a Jerwood Fellows Scholarship through Manchester International Festival, a commision with The Royal Exchange, co-forming a collective called Outside The Frame Arts which will explore hidden voices some juicy projects, I’m feeling excited. Terrified but excited. I am learning that stepping into the unknown is how we truly grow. And I hope you continue to join me along the way! X
What a fab name right? If you’re wondering what it means, it’s the title of the new anthology to be published by Commonword, Manchester, featuring the poems, plays and prose of the Women In The Spotlight collective of which I happen to be part of. The cover illustration is awesome created by Bethany Georgia Hermitt. Women In The Spotlight are entirely made up of BAME and/or LBT+ women who often face challanges to make their voices heard. This is a reclaiming of agency. Poetic, powerful and a pleasure to be part of.
Afshan Lodhi, the editor, has bestowed upon us the title of ’15 bad-ass women!’ to include herself too. From creating plays together to an Arvon residential perfecting our craft, to this new anthology packed with poetry, monologues and performance pieces, it really has been a wonderful creative process. Come and join us for the sharing by booking on the link below and I’ll see you there xx
Sunday 22nd November brought women writers from the Muslim and Jewish faith together to share their stories at the Manchester Jewish Museum. The gathering celebrated the anthology ‘When Saira met Sara’ published by Commonword featuring poems and narratives that highlight the experiences of women from both faiths.
Myself, Yasmin Babiker, Sherry Ashworth, Jacqueline Lewis, Shamshad Khan and Becky Prestwich Hine shared our writing, a testament to the commonalities we share that are often forgotten. We were also joined by Tahara Amin, Qaisra Shahraz and Heather Fletcher from the Greater Manchester Muslim and Jewish Forum aswell as creative artists, Afshan Lodhi and Cheryl Martin.
Afternoon tea at the Park Inn organised as a thankyou to us, ended what was an inspiring occasion, affirming the belief that love, laughter and tears can indeed bring us cousins closer together if we try.
I am so excited about my play on show next week! It’s been a wonderful experience from writing it, to meeting the actors and actresses, to being there throughout stage management under the guidance of Gina Frost and Jon Topliff! Book your tickets direct from 3MT webpage if you can’t access Eventbrite or Skiddle! See you there! X