A poetic, funny and touching memoir of childhood in the 1970s
“I came here to begin a new story, but maybe all my stories begin with this one story – this love story, this ghost story…”
Springfield Road is a journey into childhood. My childhood, maybe your childhood too. I set out to capture a snapshot of the seventies, a world without health and safety, a time of halfpenny sweets, fish and chips in newspaper, cassette tapes of the Sunday night top ten, scrumping apples and foraging for conkers, through the eyes of my child self.
It is the memoir of our family home on Springfield Road in Hastings, but it is also a memoir of the journey I took writing this book. These are my memories of my attempts to understand the beauty, the brutality and the contradictions of the adult world; why my Irish jazz musician father mysteriously disappeared from our lives; how my mother’s transitions from her Jamaican girlhood to her teenage dreams to represent Britain in the Olympics, to her life as a go-go dancer and then single-parenthood affected us all. It’s about discovering that life is unfair and that parents die. Its also about seeking the good in the world, the humour and the tenderness, this book is not a misery memoir.
Springfield Road is peppered with daydreams, a poetic and universal child’s eye view from the cracks in the pavement to the faces in the clouds. This book is a salute to every curly-top, scabby knee’d, mixed-up, half-crazy kid out there. We had afros, we had free school dinners and hand-me-downs. They haven’t told our story like this before, and I believe it's about time. This book will make you craugh, cry and laugh at once. When you read it I imagine you will say, Hey! I remember, we did that too! You might say I remember being closer to the ground; I remember riding my bike with my feet off the pedals; I remember summers were longer and how oranges were bigger; I remember struggling to comprehend sex and death, heaven and hell, war and God, and perhaps you’ll say, I remember I missed my dad too. This is my story but I think maybe its your story too. With your help and with thanks to Unbound Books this story can finally be shared.
When you travel to a new city you can imagine what it must be like, even if you have never been there. You can conjure up London, New York or Paris by their names alone, picturing your destination whilst on your way there. This journey is in reverse, my father is the stop I missed, he is the station I dreamt of when I was sleeping.
OTHERS: Writers On Difference
Tuesday, 14 November 2017
Hello its been a while since I dropped you a line here! Hello Unbounders!
I wonder how you all are and if you have heard of Others: Writers on difference
Currently crowdfunding on Unbound, all proceeds go to refugee and anti-hate charities!!
I'm thrilled to be invited to join some other others to write for this new anthology. This book will be a collection of essays, stories and poetry…
LAST WORD FESTIVAL, ROUNDHOUSE, CAMDEN
Monday, 29 May 2017
“I know a lot of dead people now…” Mrs Death
NEW work in progress, a live collaboration of new poetry and fiction by Salena Godden with music composed by Peter Coyte.
Excerpts from the private correspondence, daydreams and diaries of Mrs Death. 'This is your life' narrated by Mrs Death. Mrs Death recalls peoples ends…
LIVEwire vinyl launch in Soho, Byline Festival, Last Word Festival and more...
Tuesday, 16 May 2017
Salena Godden’s brand new 2LP gatefold vinyl release of her critically acclaimed ‘LIVEwire’ album has arrived. The album has been shortlisted for The Poetry Society's Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry. Salena Godden was…
Salena Godden's 'LIVEwire' shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award
Thursday, 9 March 2017
We’re thrilled to announce that Salena Godden’s LIVEwire album has been shortlisted for The Poetry Society’s prestigious Ted Hughes Award for excellence in poetry. The first run of the album was released on CD in October 2016, but already its received 5* rave reviews and is causing a storm on the spoken word scene.
The Ted Hughes Shortlist includes fantastic new work from:
Jay Bernard for…
Salena Godden's LIVEwire launch party and fundraiser in Soho on December 7th
Friday, 2 December 2016
Salena Godden's LIVEwire album launch and RCK fundraiser in Soho
Join us on 7th December at Carnesky’s Finishing School Soho, in the basement of the old Foyles, for an electric night of celebration, poetry and music. Salena Godden's #LIVEwire album has already received 5* in The i Paper, and we're launching it with a bang - so click here to grab your tickets!
The LIVEwire album was released…
'LIVEwire' NEW live spoken word album released this Friday October 7th!!
Tuesday, 4 October 2016
You can now pre-order Salena Godden's hotly-anticipated 'LIVEwire' album on CD or download from Nymphs & Thugs Bandcamp site: http://ow.ly/gk2Q304DBnZ
Official release date October 7th 2016
The album is a compilation of live and studio recordings, archives and brand new work. It features new material and performances from literary childhood memoir 'Springfield Road' (Unbound…
Tuesday, 6 September 2016
"In the family album it is the only photograph of my father and I together. It is a black and white photo but I have coloured it in. We are sitting in the sun on the doorstep, I am in between the legs of my father, there are shadows of the railings against the pink sunny walls behind us. Half of my dad’s head is cut out of the picture because the photographer, probably Mum, hasn’t stepped…
Your Invite: An Evening with Salena Godden at L'Escargot on June 15th
Tuesday, 10 May 2016
A warm invitation to all our Unbound comrades and friends...
Stephen Colegrave hosts a special evening with Salena Godden for one night only in the Salon Noire at Soho’s gorgeous private members club L’Escargot on June 15th. Salena will perform a selection of poetry and prose, debut new work and share brilliant festival favourites. Enjoy an evening of delicious cocktails in cool company…
Ding! Dong! December!
Tuesday, 1 December 2015
Hello to my Unbound comrades,
How are you all?
This is my last 2015 shed blog to share a few links and pics and things before we all disappear into the madness of Decemberry and festivities. My november winter count down has been so busy, I have been writing and recording and also giving talks to teenagers at The Royal Geographical Society and also at The Chipping Norton Secondary…
Some great shows coming up this autumn / winter!!
Monday, 2 November 2015
Hello Unbound comrades,
Yay! Tomorrow! November 3rd:
Inside, L'Escargot, Soho
Storytelling Festival, Brighton Uni. Hastings
Word Life, Sheffield
I have some poems published in the November issue of Woventale Press:
Here's my brand new Soundcloud page for short and sweet audio treats!!
Springfield Road audio book is available now!
Wednesday, 14 October 2015
Hello you beautiful Unbounders,
How are you all? Now golden autumn has arrived and the Springfield Road audio book has arrived too! Attached to this shed post a short audio sample to whet your appetite: Chapter 49 / Eulogy. A poem for my grandmother Nanny and also fittingly a poem for Black History month too. If you'd like to hear more I posted a different autumnal sample on my Mixcloud click…
New writing by Salena Godden published in The Pool
Saturday, 8 August 2015
Because it's not always the quiet ones you have to watch.
'It is a warm summer morning and outside my open window the sky is blue, birds are singing, the air is sweet with jasmine from my garden. As I sit to type this, I exhale and feel the word “suicide” – it’s a word so familiar and heavy, it is the cold jagged shape of this word that I know too well. I have just had a bad phonecall.…
my summertime shed post
Friday, 3 July 2015
Hello to all my Unbound comrades,
It's been a while since I left you a message in my shed. How are you all? I hope you have been enjoying this glorious summer sunshine. The 'Springfield Road' audio book is finished and now with Unbound. It was epic to sit and read all 250 pages, it was a learning process, trial and error, in my home made vocal booth (pictured above) but I hope you'll enjoy…
A poem for Billie Holiday, published today at The Pool
Tuesday, 7 April 2015
Billie Holiday was born 100 years ago today.
Whatever you do today please take some time out to listen to her music, take a moment to thank the great Billie Holiday.
Published today, Billie, read my piece in full here at The Pool: https://www.the-pool.com
Audio now up on Mixcloud here: https://www.mixcloud.com/salenagodden/a-poem-for-billie-holiday/
I hope you're all having a wonderful…
BBC Click Radio 'Here's a poem about space'
Wednesday, 1 April 2015
Hello my Unbound Comrades, How are you all?
I've been on a mission to Mars and had the most fabulous time!
As the Click Radio Poet-in-Residence I was invited to write about space for a one hour special.
It was very exciting and broadcast live last night in front of a packed BBC Radio Theatre
'A Space and Citizen Science Special' is online and you can hear the programme if you Click…
blog / Springtime on Springfield
Thursday, 12 March 2015
"There was something extraordinary about last Saturday. There was something spiritual and ritualistic about taking the book back to the street where it was written, the street that it was written about. Taking Springfield Road to Springfield Road in spring time. I guess it was a gig and a party, it was a ceremony, it also felt a bit like visiting a place of birth, all of this and more, all…
We're taking 'Springfield Road' to Springfield Road // Roll up for the latest 'Waiting For Godden'
Sunday, 1 March 2015
The Book Club Boutique take 'Springfield Road' home to Springfield Road
An evening of Books, Booze and Boogie-Woogie marking the publication of Salena Godden's literary memoir about growing up on Springfield Road. For one night only we will meet in the beautiful Bank House, located in the halls of the old Nat West Bank on the corner of Springfield Road, St Leonards, Hastings.
February News: From Ronnie Scott's to Edinburgh and home to Hastings...
Monday, 16 February 2015
Hello you beautiful people, my dear Unbound comrades, hello new friends,
How are you? It has been a while since we last spoke. I hope you're well and I thank you for your tweets and messages and for all your support and help with spreading the word about Springfield Road - You kind people.
Last weekend I read Springfield Road live and improvised new poetry at Ronnie Scotts at the Jazz Verse…
'Springfield Road' chosen to launch the 'For Books Sake' Online Book Club & more...
Tuesday, 27 January 2015
Hello Unbound comrades and welcome to all newbies to this page,
I hope you are all warm and toasty ... I have just returned from a week teaching up in the north in Yorkshire, The Ted Hughes Centre, Arvon Lumb Bank, where it snowed heavily but we had alot of fun writing snowy themed poems with a rowdy class of 13 and 14 year old boys. I love snow and this was a wonderful wintry week of creativity…
New Audio: NPR's Arun Rath in conversation with Salena Godden
Tuesday, 30 December 2014
New audio via @nprbooks
“From Her Dad To Her ‘Jamish’ Roots”
Arun Rath in conversation with Salena Godden
'All Things Considered' NPR Radio, USA
Growing up in 1970s England, Salena Godden stood out. Her mother was Jamaican and her father was an Irish jazz musician who mysteriously disappeared from her life when she was very young.
In her memoir, Springfield Road, the writer, poet…
Merry Christmas and Thank You to all
Thursday, 18 December 2014
Seasons Greetings to all my Unbound Comrades and book loving friends -
It was exactly 365 days ago when we reached 100% and this past year has been the best and busiest time of life ever. Thanks to all of you, thanks for your continued support and thank you for helping to spread the word about Springfield Road. Your responses have been brilliant. T H A N K Y O U!
I have just a few…
Today #womeninprint Twitter Q&A and more...
Friday, 21 November 2014
Hello my Unbound Comrades,
For those of you on Twitter @unbounders are live tweeting with Unbound authors @salenagodden @RoseBretecher @liz_friend 1pm GMT today!
Come and join in the conversation and tweet your questions on #writing #publishing #womeninprint #readwomen2014 #crowdfunding and all the fun of the fair ... today at lunchtime!
Please scroll down to check out my dates and some…
'Springfield Road' live at Bookslam, The Clapham Grand #womeninprint #womensaid
Saturday, 8 November 2014
Something for the weekend? Something for your ears? Here hear! Hear here! Here here!
Last month I did an all-woman show at The Clapham Grand for Bookslam and here is the audio attached!
Picture The Clapham Grand, full to the rafters and an epic line up of powerful women speakers and thinkers, this particular night was so very memorable and poignant. The other featured speakers…
Your invite to The Book Club Boutique and latest news and reviews...
Thursday, 30 October 2014
Good Morning to my Unbound comrades,
Thank you so much for all that made it to the Springfield Road almighty booklaunchparty. I posted some party pics from that glorious night on my website here: salenagodden.com Thank you to Maggie Gee for her generous speech and to Rachael Kerr too! So many old faces and new, from the bottom of my heart, thank you!
Since the book was launched on October…
An invitation to The Book Club Boutique tomorrow!
Tuesday, 15 July 2014
Hello to all Unbound comrades,
I hope you have been having a wonderful summertime, fish are jumping and the cotton is high...
I'd like to invite all my Unbound friends to my Book Club Boutique party tomorrow evening.
The BCB launches 'Fishing In The Aftermath Poems 1994-2014' published this month with Burning Eye Books.
Featuring over 80 poems to celebrate 20 years of performance…
The History of the N-Word on BBC Radio 4
Monday, 23 June 2014
Hey Unbounders -
You don’t want to miss this 'The History of The N-Word' - Presented by Ellah Allfrey and produced by Colin Grant. Broadcast on Saturday June 21st, this poignant and powerful radio programme is now up on your BBC i-Player, featuring archive and commentary from Lenny Bruce, Nina Simone, Richard Pryor, James Baldwin to Gabriel Gbadamosi, Bernadine Evaristo, Raymond Antrobus and many…
Happy Strawberry Moon
Friday, 13 June 2014
Just a note to wish you all a happy full June moon, tonight we see the rise of the strawberry moon or rose moon, so remember to look up and out.
At 10pm tonight, June 13th, I'm on BBC Radio 3's The Verb with Ian McMillan. Alongside legend Viv Albertine from The Slits talking about her memoir 'Clothes, clothes, clothes, music, music, music, boys, boys, boys' and there's…
New Blog: Maya Angelou V's Jeremy Paxman
Tuesday, 3 June 2014
"Keep on, keeping on, keep supporting independent publishers who are working hard towards getting new voices heard and published. The late, great Maya Angelou has left a huge hole, I felt safer knowing she was there, without her the world is suddenly more white bread than ever. May her spirit and influence live on. Keep working hard to narrate the times, to tell the truth about…
Excerpt / the photograph on the 'Springfield Road' cover
Thursday, 15 May 2014
Excerpt / The Photograph...
"....one of the only photographs of my father and I together. It is a black and white photo but I have coloured it in. We are sitting in the sun on the doorstep, I am in between the legs of my father, there are shadows of the railings against the pink sunny walls behind us. Half of my dad’s head is cut out of the picture because the photographer, probably Mum…
BBC radio and gigs all coming up...
Tuesday, 22 April 2014
Good Morning Team Unbound!
Hope you all had wonderful Easter holidays!
I just wanted to let you all know I have lots of cool radio and gig news for you this week.
April 22nd / Today is the broadcast of my commisssion for BBC World Service / Click Radio at 6.30pm
April 23rd / Tomorrow I'm reading poems and talking books on BBC Scotland / The Culture Show at 2.30pm
In other news…
Springshine. Springtime. Springfield.
Monday, 7 April 2014
Hello to all Unbound Comrades!
I hope you are all well and you are enjoying the spring springing and blossoms a-blossoming wherever you are in the world.
I'm a guest on BBC World Service Click Radio - I've been commissioned to write something to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the invention of the World Wide Web. Isn't it bizarre to think we've only had the internet for a quarter of a century…
Come on down to Ronnie Scott's this Sunday March 9th
Thursday, 6 March 2014
Message to the mighty Unbound family,
Happy World Book Day!
This Sunday March 9th, I'm reading in Soho at Ronnie Scott's alongside Romesh Gunesekera, Dorothea Smartt and Courttia Newland, all hosted by Jumoke Fashola at the Jazz Verse Jukebox. This promises to be a wicked event, with an awesome line-up of smoking hot readings, live music, jazz improvisation and more.... It's on…
Twitter Q&A tomorrow - Friday February 28th at 1pm!
Thursday, 27 February 2014
Hello you beautiful people, ahoy Unbound comrades, how are you all doing?
We've got a date - Tomorrow, Friday lunchtime, I'm doing a live Unbound #springfieldroad Q&A on Twitter.
If you're on twitter please tweet @salenagodden & @unbounders
And ask me ANYTHING from 1pm - Remember to use the hashtag #askanauthor
See you there! xx
Exclusive excerpt from Springfield Road published in The Illustrated Ape
Monday, 10 February 2014
THE ILLUSTRATED APE Magazine! Out Now!
Launched in Shibuya, Japan, the FIRST LOVE ISSUE features a short and sweet exclusive excerpt ‘First Kiss’ from Springfield Road - Get yourself a copy of The Illustrated Ape HERE.
This limited edition has been produced in the style of old-skool Japanese magazines. Its handprinted on eco-friendly hemp paper using 80s stencil duplicator technology…
New Audio / Jonathan Dimbleby and Salena Godden / 'Silver Spoons' RSL and First Story debate
Monday, 3 February 2014
"Silver Spoons: Can you write without one?" lively debate hosted by The Royal Society of Literature and First Story.
This audio recorded on 23rd January 2014 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bloomsbury.
Well, here’s a treat for your ears, its a short and sweet 10minute clip of Jonathan Dimbleby introducing Salena Godden, including a reading from 'Springfield Road' and some of their delightful conversation…
Thanks to you Springfield Road is 101% funded!
Friday, 17 January 2014
Hello to all subscribers and pledgers and crowdfunders and unbounders
Thanks to you 'Springfield Road' is now 101% funded!
I cannot even begin to tell you how delighted and appreciative I am for all your help and support both online and on the road...
T H A N K Y O U
I start 2014 with a spring in my step as my book is sent to the tailors to be fitted with its shiny jacket...
How Does A Blind Person Cross The Road?
Wednesday, 4 December 2013
Yesterday's event for The United Nations 21st Annual International Day of Disabled People at The House of Lords blew me away. We had cream tea and cucumber sandwiches and it was a wonderful afternoon with a beautiful view of the wintry river Thames outside the window. There was passionate talk and lively debate and the premiere of the 'Sea Of Change' film asking the question 'How Does A Blind…
The House Of Lords
Monday, 2 December 2013
On Tuesday December 3rd, I've been invited to speak at The House Of Lords as part of The 21st Birthday of the United Nations International Day for Persons with Disabilities. I'll be speaking out on the behalf of disabled and blind people at the red carpet premier of the 'Sea Of Change' film. Lord Low the inspirational blind Lord is sponsoring the event.
This is a great honour. My mother…
From Ubud to Aldeburgh: The Festival Diaries
Tuesday, 26 November 2013
"Its 4am and as usual I wake up to write, I have been sleeping on top of a mountain of books, they are piled so high, my nose touches the ceiling. These books are signed and precious, they are limited editions of poetry and fiction and memoir. They have been written by real people I have been meeting and drinking with and so…before I pick up another microphone and say “Good Evening my name is…
New Audio / Memoir : Bernice Chauly, Salena Godden, Agustinus Wibowo & Janet Steele | #UWRF13
Monday, 11 November 2013
Its a rainy Monday here in London. I’ve just got home from the wonderful Aldeburgh Poetry Festival. I'm sitting here drinking pots of tea, loading up hundreds of photos, gazing lovingly at my shiny pile of brand new books. Today I am finally unpacking my gig bag, emptying my performance head, I want to try to write about the joy of poetry and literary…
"And a laugh that escapes from her like a pitbull pup through a rusty fence."
Tuesday, 5 November 2013
New Audio / Springfield Road live at Tongue Fu / Halloween special
Monday, 4 November 2013
NEW Audio: #springfieldroad live at Tongue Fu / Hallowen Special
Last weeks Halloween special 'Old Bones & Fresh Flowers' at Tongue Fu was an exploration into how we remember and celebrate our dead, with music from the Tongue Fu Band - Patrick Davey, Arthur Lea and Oliver Keen - and animations from CR&D. I read short excerpts about my father and the impact of his suicide from 'Springfield…
Happy Halloween! Springfield Road gig tonight...
Thursday, 31 October 2013
Hello everyone, how are you all? Here's a spooky picture for Halloween for you! Yesterday I was working on a film and my character had to be dressed up as The Bride of Frankenstein…it was so much fun!
Radio: 'Mapping The Metropolis' & 'Connecting Nothing With Something'
Tuesday, 24 September 2013
Hello there, last week we made something for your ears...
Radio Show 'Mapping The Metropolis' / aired Resonance FM / 17th Sept 2013
Mapping The Metropolis - A live literature show hosted by Kit Caless, editor at indie publishing house Influx Press, whose most recent anthology, ‘Connecting Nothing with Something’ is a collection of stories and poems set on the coasts of Kent and Sussex…
'Springfield Road' gets a lovely mention...
Monday, 16 September 2013
"Contributors include Salena Godden whose ‘The Beirut of a Hastings Saturday Night’, an excerpt from her book Springfield Road, has a wonderful beat-like quality and is richly poetic – as you’d expect from this punk poet extraordinaire – with lines about “brackish…
excerpt / Voodoo
Thursday, 15 August 2013
excerpt / Voodoo
Now I was scared and I was cornered in the woods, they stood around me calling me names and discussing who was going to fight me. They said that they could smell shit, that I was covered in shit, that’s what made me black. They told me I didn’t come out of my mother’s vagina, I came out of her arse.
‘Have you seen her black mum? Her mum’s got shit all over her…’
Pride and Prejudice / poem for twittersilence / BBC World Service
Thursday, 8 August 2013
This week I was commissioned to write a piece about the #twitterboycott for the BBC World Service. With all the furore that's been going on, from Jane Austen on the new ten pound note and women recieving death threat tweets, it was quite a challenge and quite a meaty subject to get my teeth into. This programme was aired on Tues 6th August on #bbcclickradio on both BBC World Service & BBC Radio…
extract from a short story / The Beirut of a Hastings Saturday night
Tuesday, 30 July 2013
"Ducking down the narrow cobbled back street into the heart of the old town, the arteries are winding alley ways, preserved in salt and a tradition of fishing and smuggling. Walking though the Old Town we pass the tattoo parlour, afternoon tea shops, junk shops, the fish market, selling eels, crabs, cockles and muscles, the candy floss stalls, candied sea shells, shiny windmills, kiss-me-quick…
These people are helping to fund Springfield Road.