A Beautiful Marriage of Sound

This week I travelled up to London for three days rehearsing with the almighty Dominie Hooper. Dominie and I have been friends for years. We have been on creative retreats together, staying in a Cornish Cottage, locking the doors and making all kinds of poetry music fusions. We have also cried, laughed and done everything in-between. When I first heard Dominie’s voice I felt like I had been kicked and kissed all at once. Alongside her amazing voice, Dominie also plays guitar, cello, loop station, and the shaky egg.

We rehearsed in this amazing space overlooking the city, ate banana pancakes and just got down to it.

I am so very proud with what has unravelled between us. She really has brought a whole new dimension to the writing of Singing My Mother’s Song, a beautiful marriage of sound, that means we can bring you a poetic story full of beauty, pain and celebration.

The launch of Singing My Mother’s Song will be in Bristol on the afternoon of 22nd June. After that we will be touring around the U.K. Please get in touch to book this thirty minute poetry/musical experience.


Singing Our Mothers’ Songs

The glorious poet Toni Stuart will be reading the Singing My Mother's Song commissioned piece, ‘The Girl Who Walked Through Walls', as well as two of my very own poems from the up and coming Singing My Mother's Song collection.

If you are that side of the globe, go check her in Cape Town on 4th May- at Singing Our Mothers’ Songs. I adore how these stories and celebrations span time, space and oceans.


Connecting Artists and Voices Across Oceans

It has been such an honour to work with so many amazing artists and ideas on Singing My Mother's Song. 

In Cape Town, South Africa, Malika Ndlovu and Toni Stuart where commissioned to write in response to some of the themes explored in SMMS. 

In Jo-burg, dancers Yana Fay Dzedze and Nyaniso Dzedze choreographed dance pieces to accompany the poems and then my dear friend and boss filmmaker Jim Demuth arrived to capture it all. I have known Jim since I was seventeen, we explored Italy and Croatia together. Jumped in waterfalls, shot espresso and swam in the most transparent waters.

Last night I got into my good friend Pablo Villierezz's studio in Bristol. I have also been to Pablo's family home in Mexico City. Pablo recorded me reading two poems from Singing My Mother's Song, ready for Jim the filmmaker now working and living in China, to marry them with the footage of the dancers in South Africa. 

Yes to cross collaborative work

Yes to connecting artists and voices across oceans

Yes to learning from each other's world

Yes. To. Unity


Another Route for the Reader to Unravel

This is Anna Higgie.

Anna illustrated my last two books and is currently working on the up n coming ‘Singing My Mother’s Song,’ published by Burning Eye Books, June of this year. 🤸🏽‍♀️

We spent half the morning looking through each poem and story, discussing what would be the best fusion of words and imagery, how each drawing could add a whole new layer and meaning to the language, another route for the reader to unravel and enter the narrative from. How equally blank space is vital in the telling of something, the gaps, the silences, the lack of, can speak, can offer such an important story.

The other half was spent making her take moody selfies with me



Together & Sunspell

An interview for Together & Sunspell. I had to really sell the content of my inner psyche for this one and answer so many musings... including the motivation behind Singing My Mother's Song, my most most vivd childhood memory, describing a morning I woke without fear and what are the consequences of silence. I don't think I've ever enjoyed being questioned as much as I did for this. 



Celebrating All Things Birthed

It has been just over a year since I received funding from the Arts Council to begin the journey of Singing My Mother’s Song.

I have researched, questioned, picked apart and put together again. It has taken me to South Africa, to places in my family narrative that have been kept quiet for so long. I have woken up my ancestors, looked both behind and affront, so to make sense of now.

I have spent the past six months writing up this yearning. Creating poems and stories, trying to put all these facts, all this imagination and dreaming onto the page.

Today the day came, where I submitted the manuscript to my publisher! The labour has been done. Singing My Mother’s Song has officially been set free.

And here we are, the glorious Bridget Hart and I from the Burning Eye team, celebrating all things creative. Celebrating all things birthed.

The collection will be out in June 2019


A Nail Biting Version Of Myself

It’s been a while since I shared about the progression of this book, mostly because the past six months I have been creating it.

A week ago I sent a copy of ‘Singing My Mother’s Song’ to my family for approval. I wouldn’t normally do this, but as the content of this collection is so deeply personal to them, it felt important.

The most important person is my mother though. It’s her story after all. Her longings and loses, her discoveries and gains. And I have been a nail biting version of myself this past week, waiting to hear back from her.

Today she sent a message saying she had finished reading and wholly celebrates its being. And my heart fills fit enough to explode.

Three more weeks of editing and I will be submitting it to the publisher on December the 1st.


In the mean time. Here is her hand. Here are my words.

A Singing My Mother's Song Poetry Workshop


I taught my first Singing My Mother's Song Poetry Workshop this Weekend at Tribe of Doris Festival, here in the U.K 

The workshop included a ritual and ceremony in which we called in someone who had passed, this person could have been known by us or someone we knew of. 

We then created poetry, around the theme of journeys,informed and inspired by this person, by what is real and what is imagined.

It was so very moving, so opening, so very very special.

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All Things Bright and Beautiful

‘My mother’s song at some point in history was All Things Bright and Beautiful, or Kumbaya or Cross Over The Road My Friend. It would have been her sat at the piano, in the hall of my primary school, playing hymns while the children sang. It was always a weird thing having her as a teacher at my school, because I was naughty. 

In a white working class area that became a hub for migration, she was a pioneer for changing the curriculum into something multicultural. While she was married to my father, who was Jamaican, she could understand a Jamaican accent, which was a really big thing for some of the parents of the children who had just arrived. She always talked about his one woman who cried in the classroom during the 1960’s because my mum was the first teacher to understand her.’

- Hannah Lowe, London, Poet


This Book Into Being


Just arrived to The Hurst, for a residential week of writing with the Arvon Foundation. The glorious poet Hannah Lowe is teaching...she’s also doing some editing on my Singing My Mother’s Song manuscript in a couple of months, so I thought it best I learn as much as I can from her...a whole six days, to immerse, create and bring this book into being. Let the words begin



Part of this incredible project led me to the immense Johannesburg, where I was writer in residence at Wits University and I had the pleasure of teaching creative writing workshops to some amazing humans.

Back in the U.K, I’m so excited to be at this year’s, ‘Tribe of Doris Festival’ facilitating a one off, specialised Singing My Mother’s Song Poetry Workshop.

This workshop will look at ancestry and creative writing as a means to express our individual stories.



Simple Yet So Loaded With Story

This is Anna Higgie 

Anna is a glorious illustrator who works for loads of really swanky magazines, musicians, writers and such. 

We met at Shambala festival and it’s been love ever since. 

Anna illustrated my first two books and I am excited to say, she has just finished the front cover for ‘Singing My Mother’s Song.’

It’s stunning. Simple yet so loaded with story. You’ll have to wait to see it though....


Schnapps and Strange Songs

‘My mother was an incredibly shy woman, she barely spoke, although I would catch her singing to herself in the kitchen or when a few of us were gathered around the table. She would drink a schnapps and sing strange songs from her youth and Swedish musicals. She had a great voice, she should have been in a choir, but she was too afraid to fail.’ - Berit Lindfeldt, Artist, Gothenburg

Love. That's Her Song

My mother’s songs are love songs. Especially the 80’s kind. She really liked Boyz || Men.

I was born in South Africa during the apartheid. I had been left on the street and was found and placed in a children’s home. I was adopted by a Swedish woman. We all lived in South Africa for a while but now I am here. 

My mother always taught me to smile with the heart. Love. That’s her song. 

-Carl Forsman, Stockholm, Falafel King


What Tune It Really Is

‘What is my mother's song? Who my mother is in my head has changed so much...it feels like a jukebox in there, in which a bunch of inpatient people keep changing the track and everyone is arguing over what tune it really is. 

There was lots of 80s R n B and Soul growing up. My musical taste is still so informed by that. I listen to it and it reminds me of her, my mother. 

At the time I didn’t always like it, but it’s interesting how I can build a connection with my mother through hindsight, and even if we didn’t get to enjoy it together then, develop a new relationship through it now.’ - Vanessa Kisuule, Bristol, Poet


My little Sardines

‘My mother’s song holds complexity. She grew up in Miranda de Alba, Spain, and lived a life of comfort for her first seven years on this earth. 

There are differing stories as to why they fled when they did and became immigrants... my grandfather spoke of being on an execution list because of his work forging documents for the resistance movement against Franco. 

They arrived in Hereford and brought a barn without a roof and my mother and her four, soon to be five, siblings lived in a tent for a year. There was this sudden descent into poverty then. 

When they were in the same place my grandmother would lead a song called 'Mis Sardinitas' (My little Sardines). I think that’s what they stood for when in unison, the improvised and earthy togetherness of family. That’s my mother’s song.’- Jonathan Biggs, Permitting Officer for the Environment Agency.


This Box

I keep a small amount of her ashes in this box that she brought back from Malawi for me when I was small. The rest are in a nourishing bluebell wood just outside of Bristol. 

We interspersed her funeral celebration with a number of songs which feel like hers to me. But if I had to choose it would be Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes. It's the song we committed her body to at the crematorium, although she was definitely not in the coffin. I remember feeling that she was dancing around the room.- Abbie Hastings, Musician, Bristol


Coming Around Again

My mother’s name was V, short for Vimal. It is a Sannyasin name that she was given by Osho. Before that she was called Monica, but I wasn't born then.  

My mother would sometimes listen to Heart Fm, she was very emotional. She would hear 80s songs on the radio and cry....get obsessed with certain records and play them over and over. She was a very challenging woman but when someone dies you start to resolve the things you couldn’t before.

When she was in hospital I forgave her. I never really understood what forgiveness was until then. When someone is dying everything shrivels into perspective and you want them to go in peace. At her funeral us three siblings chose a song each. Mine was Coming Around Again by Carly Simon for the line 'don't mind if I fall apart, there's more room in a broken heart,' which is just like her. - Arvind Howarth, senior technical instructor to journalism students at UWE.


Furious Urgency and Self Induced Stop-Signs.

Spring sunshine, coffee and writing. ‘Singing My Mother’s Song’ finds a tiny mouth, the page finds the pen and I try make sense of a trillion moments. Writing is a mix between slack and soften, between furious urgency and self induced stop-signs. For every hour of writing there are all the minutes spent dreaming another lifetime into being, and then words-light as ash-burn whole nebula onto paper. Or something like that... it’s more both awkward and vital all at once