An Evening with Warsan Shire at Contact

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Warsan Shire. Photo by Amaal Said
Warsan Shire. Photo by Amaal Said.

An Evening with Warsan Shire at Contact Theatre, Manchester 14 March 2022 Tickets from £8.00 — Book now

The first event in the Manchester Literature Festival Spring 2022 Season is an evening with Somali-British poet and writer Warsan Shire, celebrating the launch of her first full-length poetry collection, Bless The Daughter Raised By A Voice In Her Head, this month.

Award-winning American poet Terrance Hayes says: “Bless The Daughter Raised By A Voice In Her Head is full of ferocious love and truth. It is not overstatement to say Warsan Shire writes the way Nina Simone sang.”

Described as one of the most exciting poets of her generation, Warsan builds on the power of individual poems like Home and For Women Who Are Difficult To Love with her first full-length collection, Bless The Daughter Raised By A Voice In Her Head. MLF calls the new book: “Beautifully crafted and profoundly moving, it’s a collection that explores home and exile, migration and assimilation, faith and family alongside love, desire, trauma and womanhood.” Award-winning American poet Terrance Hayes says: “Bless The Daughter Raised By A Voice In Her Head is full of ferocious love and truth. It is not overstatement to say Warsan Shire writes the way Nina Simone sang.”

Born in Nairobi and raised in London, Warsan was awarded the inaugural Brunel International African Poetry Prize in 2013 and the year later served as the first Young Poet Laureate of London. She was also selected as Poet in Residence for Queensland, Australia, where she collaborated with the Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts. Her debut pamphlet, Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth was published in 2011 and has gone on to be a Bestselling Book of Poetry. In 2015, Warsan published a limited-edition pamphlet Her Blue Body and in 2016 wrote the poetry for the Peabody Award-winning visual album Lemonade. In 2017 she was included as part of the Penguin Modern Poets series alongside the likes of Sharon Olds and Malika Booker, and she worked on the Disney film Black Is King in collaboration with Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. She also wrote the short film Brave Girl Rising, highlighting the voices and faces of Somali girls in Africa’s largest refugee camp. The youngest member of the Royal Society of Literature, Warsan Shire lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.

Presented in partnership with Centre for New Writing, Creative Manchester and Waterstones Deansgate, this evening will see Warsan discuss her work and perform some of her fierce and tender poems. She’ll be introduced by Malika Booker, a British poet and theatre-maker of Guyanese and Grenadian parentage and founder of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen. Malika’s poetry collection Pepper Seed was shortlisted for the OCM Botas Prize and her poem ‘The Little Miracles’ won the 2020 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem.

Warsan Shire Bless The Daughter Raised By A Voice In Her Head
Warsan Shire Bless The Daughter Raised By A Voice In Her Head

An Evening with Warsan Shire at Contact Theatre, Manchester 14 March 2022 Tickets from £8.00 Book now

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Where to go near An Evening with Warsan Shire at Contact

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The Deaf Institute is a vibrant gig venue and nightclub for which it is well worth taking a jaunt out of the Northern Quarter.

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Catalog Bookshop

Find Peter and his Christiania cargo bike around All Saints Park, a hop, skip and a bunnyhop from Manchester Poetry Library.

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Bar or Pub
Sandbar

Sandbar, just off Oxford Road in Manchester, is a well-loved watering hole, with a great selection of ales and some eccentric seating.

Johnny Roadhouse store
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Johnny Roadhouse

Buffeted by fried chicken outlets, legendary musical instrument emporium Johnny Roadhouse has been serving the local music community for over 50 years.

Manchester
Café or Coffee Shop
Eighth Day

Eighth Day is a co-operative shop that sells ethically-sourced food, wine and cosmetics. There’s also café that serves hearty, healthy meals in the basement.

Manchester
Event venue
The Proud Place

Based in the heart of Manchester on Sidney Street, The Proud Place houses The Proud Trust and serves as a community hub for the wider LGBT+ population across Greater Manchester and beyond.

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