Review: The Book in Africa

This is the proof of a review I recently published in Textual Cultures 10.1 (2016): 85-88. Davis, Caroline and David Johnson, eds., The Book in Africa: Critical Debates. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. ISBN 978-1-137-40161-8. Pp: xii + 280. Hardback $95. This volume introduces a range of debates about the book in Africa through an impressive set […]

Refugee Week, African Stories in Yorkshire & Postcolonial Education

It’s the Yorkshire Festival and Refugee Week next week which means that there are a host of brilliant events across the North which celebrate the diversity, stories and talent of the region.   There is a wonderful week-long Migration Matters festival in Sheffield and Wakefield, and as part of this Verse Matters is running a […]

Nigerian Student Verse (1960)

I recently had the honour of meeting Professor Martin Banham, one of the great authorities on Nigerian theatre and Director of the Workshop Theatre in Leeds, 1966-1998. We met on a windy October morning in the West Yorkshire Playhouse. Martin handed me a rare copy of Nigerian Student Verse (Ibadan, 1960): a slim anthology offering […]

Freeing verse. And saxophones…

There was a fantastic mix of words and music at Verse Matters in October. Shelley Roche-Jacques kicked off the evening with a lovely reading which explored the historical role of women writers. This was an apt opener, given the continuing inequalities in publishing, particularly for women, and for Black and Asian writers. In 2005 the Free-Verse-Report asked why so few […]

You have reached your destination!

The launch of Verse Matters was wonderful. Helen Mort kicked the evening off by reading a few of her fantastic new poems, taking us from the irritations of ‘blonde jokes’ to the diets of climbers.    As Helen was about to read her final poem, a phone chipped in with precision timing: “You have reached your destination”. It certainly […]

Verse Matters: A Feminist Arts Event

We’re getting closer to going live with Verse Matters: a new feminist arts event that I am setting up in Sheffield. We’re teaming up with a fantastic new cafe at The Hide on Scotland Street where we’ll be running every first Thursday of the month from 7.30pm. Verse Matters provides a platform for poetry, spoken […]

The politics of parenting

There is a prevailing assumption that children and politics do not mix. That parenting is apolitical, and that women who talk about children cannot, at the same time, be talking about resistance, justice, struggle or emancipation. This was brought home to me recently, when in a recent Facebook post I wrote the following: “I received […]