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.