Award-winning poet Jenny Mitchell (finally!) heads to Manchester Poetry Library in real life to read her work and discuss her series of poems re-telling the story of Jane Eyre from the perspective of a free woman of colour in the 19th century.
The team are thrilled to be able to now welcome Jenny Mitchell in person to read from her two prize-winning collections, Her Lost Language and Map Of A Plantation.
Having appeared at the Poetry Library online last year to celebrate the Aryamati Poetry Prize 2021, which she won for her poem, ‘Imagining A Forest Made Of Freedom’, and following an event in December that was postponed due to you-know-what, the team are thrilled to be able to now welcome Jenny Mitchell in person to read from her two prize-winning collections, Her Lost Language and Map Of A Plantation.
Jenny Mitchell has won the Ware, Folklore, Fosseway and Segora Prizes and a Bread and Roses Award, and has been highly commended and commended in several other competitions. She was commended in the Cheltenham Poetry Festival First Pamphlet Competition and she has been nominated for the Forward Prize: Best Single Poem. Her poems have also been published in Magma, The Rialto, The Morning Star, The New European, The Interpreter’s House among others, as well as several anthologies, including Time and Tide published by Arachne Press, and from which she can be seen reading her poem ‘Church Mary Sounds The Sea’ at the Solstice Shorts Festival in 2019. Her work has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and BBC2 and she has performed her work in Italy, France and regularly in London. As Artist in Association at Birkbeck, University of London, she is working on a novel, The Abundance of Water, as well as the Jane Eyre project.
Her second collection Map Of A Plantation is winner of the international Poetry Book Awards 2021, given to the best poetry books produced by indie writers, self-published authors or books published by small independent presses. It was chosen as a Literary Find in the Irish Independent and a Poetry Kit Book of the Month. The collection is desscribed as “[giving] voice to contrasting characters on a Jamaican cane plantation in order to examine the widespread and ongoing impact of enslavement. These poems are both tender and uncompromising, always seeking to use the past to heal present-day legacies of a contested and emotive history.”
Poet Roy McFarlane says: “Map Of A Plantation details the symbiotic relationship between enslaved people and enslavers – harrowing, disturbing and heart-rending. There’s no hiding from the violence but there’s also a ‘tiny eden’ flowered with love of a mother and memories of being loved. A joy to read, this book is a spiritual parchment of pain that transforms into a wild dance of hope.”
Jenny Mitchell’s debut collection, Her Lost Language, is joint winner of the Geoff Stevens’ Memorial Poetry Prize and it was voted one of the Books of 2019 (Poetry Wales) and was a Jhalak Prize #bookwelove recommendation. An exploration of the impact of British transatlantic enslavement on black lives and family dynamics, the poems in it are said to combine grounded realism with imaginative empathy on a journey from the Caribbean to Britain. “At the heart of the collection is the belief in the power of stories to ‘liberate’ the voice in order to help heal a collective future.”
For more Manchester Poetry Library events this winter, click here.