Tag Archives: freedom

New Writing North’s Read Regional 2020

Sorry I’ve been away so long but what a whirlwind year it’s been! Hopefully I’ll fill you all in as to what the last few months have entailed but first some revelations.

I am realising I am not very apt at updating this blog as regularly as I should but I can’t give it up either. It’s been around too long a time, much like a diary of sorts! One day I’ll look back and think I’m glad I persevered.

Anyway, I am thrilled to tell you that since my last entry I’ve been awarded a Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship alongside two incredible artists Yomi Sode & Anthony Joseph, become Supported Artist at The Royal Exchange Theatre, an Associate Artist at Oldham Coliseum & Associate Artist at The Poetry Exchange.

But I also want to make some noise about being one of ten authors selected for New Writing North’s Read Regional 2020. It’s been a great year as an artist and am humbled that I’ve got this far.

I have some brilliant projects I’ll be working on over the year but before then join me at library venues in the North where I’ll share poetry from my collection, The Celox And The Clot.

Morpeth Library

Royal Sovereign House, Manchester St, Morpeth NE61 1AF

Thursday 5 March, 7.15pm

(There will be a free Exploring Poetry workshop at 6pm, before the reading)

Batley Library

14 Market Pl, Batley WF17 5DA

Saturday 7 March, 2pm

(An International Women’s Day event)

Hull Central Library

Albion St, Hull Hu1 3TF

Thursday 12 March, 7pm

(There will be a free Exploring Poetry workshop at 6pm, before the reading)

Bradford City Library

9 Aldermanbury Centenary Square, Bradford BD1 1SD

Saturday 14 March, 2pm

(There will be a free Exploring Poetry workshop at 1pm, before the reading)

Darlington Library

Crown St, Darlington DL1 1ND

Wednesday 10 June, 2.30pm

(Part of Crossing the Tees Book Festival)

Kendal Library

Stricklandgate, Kendal, Cumbria LA9 4PY

Friday 19 June, 12pm

(There will be a free Exploring Poetry workshop at 11am, before the reading)

Part of Kendal Poetry Festival.

You can purchase

The Celox and the Clot here: https://burningeye.bigcartel.com/product/the-celox-and-the-clot-by-hafsah-aneela-bashir

And if you wondered who the other nine incredible writers are, check us out! New Writing North’s #ReadRegional 2020 Authors!

The full list of Read Regional 2020 titles is:

CHILDREN’S FICTION

James Nicol, A Witch Come True

FICTION

Clara Barley, The Moss House

Yvonne Battle-Felton, Remembered

C.J. Cooke, The Blame Game

Linda Green, The Last Thing She Told Me

Oliver Harris, A Shadow Intelligence

Lara Williams, Supper Club

MEMOIR

Horatio Clare, Icebreaker

POETRY

Hafsah Aneela Bashir, The Celox and the Clot

Keith Hutson, Baldwin’s Catholic Geese

Hope to see some of you at the libraries we’ll be sharing our books at!

Shots In The Dark 8/6/2018

It’s been a very busy few weeks as I prepare for Outside The Frame Arts, July scratch performance of Cuts Of The Cloth ( more details to follow – we are super-excited! ).

For those of you who don’t know, this is our play exploring Muslim women and their relationship with the cloth in a society obsessed with the policing of the female body so watch this space about this particular project!

In other news, myself and a whole host of wonderful writers from all backgrounds have been indulging in the genre of crime fiction. A chance to really delve into the dark side of human nature, we have created flash fiction that has been brought together by Cultureword in the new anthology ‘Shots In The Dark’.

Published by Crocus Books the micro narratives promise, ‘Bludgeonings. Distorted lives. Small victories in narrow mean worlds. Bizarre punishments and extraordinary vengeance. Dogs, bears, fish and humans – always humans – clustered and clashing in desolate landscapes. Crimes passionels. The after-effects of war. The enduring effects of race. Trauma. Badness. Rawness. Grief. Sigh. Phantasmagorical. Surreal. Hyper-real. This is desperation poured near into a black chalice.’

Last night we had an awesome celebration bringing some of the authors into the intimate setting of Three Minute Theatre in Manchester. Hosted by the ‘hostess with the mostest’ Heena Patel, we heard what David Gaffney describes as, ‘mini beasts full of suspense, violence, fear and shock with incredible characters and fascinating settings’ and we carried these stories long into the night after the event had finished.

If you want to have a read, they are available to purchase. Email admin@cultureword.org.uk to order your copy.

Special thanks to Commonword who have supported my journey and a countless amount of other writers over many years giving us space to develop and grow.

And finally – a shoutout to all the awesome contributors in the book who have become an inspiring creative family of support for one another, all the authors who made it last night for the reading – you were great to listen to and share space with and waves of support for all the ones who couldn’t make it – you were missed! X

Poetry For Palestine

Last night I had the pleasure of sharing my poetry at the event organised in the University of Manchester Students’ Union by Action Palestine. I was joined by the awsome Elmi Ali who performed spoken word and even a spontaneous beatbox collaboration with Luqc. Amazing atmosphere no doubt and it was really heartwarming to see students, the next generation, taking steps towards raising awareness about justice, liberation snd the freedom from oppression. Arash Sajedi from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign Manchester,  was also present to offer advice on practical steps that make a difference to a complex situation. Poetry was based around themes of struggle, resistance, remembrance and loss. Honoured to have contributed to the night.. X  

    
    
 

WAST ( Women Asylum Seekers Together ) and MISOL ( Manchester Migrant Solidarity ) supported by Safety4Sisters NW present ‘Still We Rise’

I had the pleasure of attending an evening of drama, song, spoken word and poetry that I helped form! The night was to raise awareness to the inhumane treatment these women suffer while trying to seek asylum. In a multitude of voices we learnt that Dallas Court is a ‘dungeon’ in Salford. Many of these women have to find their own way there, with no money or help. 85% of asylum seekers are on vouchers with no cash for other essentials. Since they must sign in, sometimes up to 2/3 times a week, these ladies are in a constant cycle of misery and panic. Unauthorised to work, signing in becomes a day of distress. If those with some sort of support go through this, imagine the dread for those on their own who don’t know the system at all. Many are destitute and these women are often housed in accommodation that is uninhabitable, waiting for considerable time before anyone helps with repairs.

Those asylum seekers who are refused stay are taken to court. The immigration system dictates that to appeal a decision – if you are granted that right, means you have to return to the country you fled from and wait for the decision to be made in the UK. Many asylum seekers do not have access to legal aid therefore struggle to find representation. Since they are prohibited from working, many cannot afford solicitor fees. As one woman said, everything is arranged so that they fail. Often a couple of days before the court hearing, solicitors will suddenly decide to not represent them which means they must find other means, Those that can’t read or write face a double jeopardy.

Describing Yarls Wood, ‘It’s not a detention centre – it’s a concentration camp,’ said one woman. Situated in Bedfordshire, it consists of mostly women. Anyone based in Manchester cannot expect visitors to make a trip that will take them hours. It’s in the middle of nowhere so no other people are visible apart from other detainees and the guards. So many are kept here indefinitely with no charge. Their only crime has been to seek sanctuary. WAST women who have been incarcerated for up to 2/3 years have been abused or witnessed sexual abuse.

A lot of women are detained despite sticking to rules and despite being sick. With no access to interpreters or doctors, Yarls Wood is said to be worse than prison. Women spoke of being sexually harassed, denied anti-natal care with no medical attention from staff oblivious to their needs.

WAST have staged demonstrations to shut down Yarls Wood since 2012. One woman likened it to the government’s way of establishing modern day slavery. Women are paid £1 an hour for the work they do inside.

One lady from Pakistan who has been seeking asylum for 14 years now was , sexually abused in Yarls Wood by a young man causing her much distress. Thanks to WAST and the solicitors involved, she was able to come back to Manchester. Another woman also incarcerated has been left with severe eye problems due to the neglect she suffered inside.

WAST relies on the letters of support that are written to MPs. As ongoing enquiries continue into Yarls Wood the Government have just extended an 8 year contract to keep it going. So many aspects need changing in the system and they need our support. They are contactable on Facebook and Twitter. Show you care xxx

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WAST Workshop Part 2!

Loved working with the asylum seekers together women at WAST, Manchester! They produced some wonderful poetry for the roadshow they are devising and I am honoured to have helped them! Truly inspirational stories xxx

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Maya Angelou Workshop

Maya Angelou was a true icon and so it was a pleasure to attend a workshop organised by the phenomenal woman called Shirley May at Manchester Central Library where we celebrated Maya’s work and created poetry that reflected her essence. We performed those pieces in an open mic at the end of the evening!

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WAST Workshop!

Working with women asylum seekers has taught me that when we class ourselves as strong women, we are doing so by assessing a measure of our experiences and achievements. There are some women out there whose silent warrior-like strength renders ours pale in comparison, women with narratives that leave me speechless. The feats they have had to overcome are never mentioned in the media and ignored by the government. The silent lining of the underbelly, these are women who have had to leave their children behind in other countries, women who are subjected to cruelties and denied basic human rights, women who are given the measliest of food vouchers to live on, destitute women, living on less than £35 a week, women who have been detained in Yarls Wood, women mistreated at the Dallas centre, women who are left to rely on no-one else but the wonderful organisation of WAST, without whose help, many would be sent back to the very places they have fled from.
There needs to be a greater understanding that being a refugee is not a choice and that it is only the power of human connection, not rhetoric or information, that helps understand the reality of the situation. The creative strength and power of these women humbles me. If anyone is interested, the destitute women seeking asylum and those living off an income less than the benefit rate, rely on food banks and donations to help get by. If you know of anyone who wants to help at a grassroots level and can donate imperishable food items or clothing for women and children, inbox me. The workshop with them was a wonderful experience! Watch this space for the wordsmiths to emerge 🙂

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