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 included LAURA BATES, the woman behind the phenomenon that is the Everyday Sexism Project, and SHAMI CHAKRABARTI, the iconic director of Liberty, who told us about her first book, 'On Liberty'. There was truly extraordinary poetry from CHIMÈNE SULEYMAN, reading from her debut collection 'Outside Looking On' and I was asked to read from the memoir 'Springfield Road'. Hosting duties were by the brilliant and hilarious comedian FELICITY WARD. For this event Bookslam teamed up with Women's Aid, the key national charity working to end domestic violence against women and children, and £1 of each ticket sold went directly to the charity.
Huzzah! This was the week that my brilliant publishers UNBOUND launched the #womeninprint campaign. Bravo! Here's to more power and more diversity, more colour and flavour and voice. I have to say I don't like gangs and cliques and labels and boxes as a rule. I have always been happy here playing the outsider and playing by my own rules - but this isn't about tokenism or girls in the corner of the playground asking to get passed the ball. This is about redressing the balance and it is so important and valid. Put quite simply - If we don't have more books by women published we only share half of our inheritance. Our literary history and our stories and memories will be predominantly narrated and imagined by the great white male and all the other colourful fish, stories and experiences, remain silenced and invisible.
'Springfield Road' has been out for about 4 weeks now. I just need to say a huge heart felt THANK YOU for the personal messages and letters I have been finding each day on this electronic beach. Almost every morning I am opening messages from school and college friends, some from poetry and writer comrades but mostly from strangers. These letters tell me this book, my book is reaching people: That some of you remember how it was, that this book reminded you of your childhood and that reading this you recalled some things you thought you had long forgotten, many are reading it aloud with partners, which is just about as beautiful as it gets. Some of you found comfort in this book because you lost a parent or you missed your dad too. I will never be able to properly express how much these letters mean to me. Nothing has prepared me for people to like this book. I have been so busy gigging and hustling and fighting my corner, fighting to be heard, I clean forgot how much this book might effect people.
So here's a present from me to you my Unbound family to thank you, something for your ears, it is unedited, raw and real. For those of you who haven't read the book yet ***spoiler alert*** although the excerpts I chose to read don't give too much away, my preamble and blather might. I remember I was very happy on this stage as you might hear in my voice. I could feel love and understanding and actual listening was happening in the room. The Clapham Grand was ram packed but it was such an intimate, warm and generous audience, as you'll hear from the laughter. This was one of my favourite gigs this year. Huge thanks to Bookslam and thanks to you for listening and reading this far down the page! haha!
Happy listening! Have a great weekend my comrades!
Keep fighting the good fight,
*If you dig this please tweet and follow #womeninprint #womensaid @bookslam
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