Saturday, 4 December 2010

EGA School Visit

On 30th November, as part of research for my new collection of poems and personal essays, I visited my old secondary school, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Language School for Girls formerly called Starcross.

I was given the opportunity of a 50-minute session with Year 9 students, aged 13, during their English lesson, courtesy of English teacher, Teresa Osubonsu. I began by discussing my school life experiences with the students, particularly the stark difference in opportunities that I was challenged with when I moved, at the age of 13, to Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. I went on to discuss my past and current writing projects.

The visit was a great experience with lots of student participation. One bright spark asked me whether I would be paying a visit to do research on the secondary school I attended in Wellingborough, so as to compare both schools, which I had thought about but was hesitant, wondering what it would achieve. However, I now think it would be of interest just to have a fair and up-to-date perspective on both schools.

To show my appreciation for this opportunity, I donated a copy of my recent anthology Hair Power Skin Revolution to EGA's school library.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Small Publishers' Fair 2010

On 13th November, as part of the Small Publishers Fair 2010, I was invited to participate in an afternoon of readings, held in the Brockway Room at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holborn, London. The Small Publishers Fair is an international fair celebrating books by contemporary artists, poets, writers, composers, book designers, and their publishers.

I read extracts from Hair Power Skin Revolution’s Introduction: The Journey So Far, and contributor Fiona Joseph read her personal essay Hair Wars: Growing up Frizzy followed by Pauline Walker who read her personal essay ‘Your Hair is Your Beauty’. I ended the reading with two of my poems from the book’s skin section – SKIN and Lost for Words.

I met some lovely people, Yasmin, who is studying at Kings College, London and who wants to write a dissertation on the subject of Black women and hair and I look forward to our dialogue developing soon; also Sophia and Valerie who had heard about the event through CatchaVibe’s website and who were keen to discuss the book’s themes further.

The event went well despite a small audience and with only a 30 minute slot, the usual interactive debate developed quite naturally in the lobby area where refreshments were available. As usual, I felt inspired by meeting such dynamic individual women and feel sure we will meet up again soon either on the net or at another event.

Thanks must go to contributors Fiona Joseph and Pauline Walker and to the Small Publishers Fair organisers Martin Rogers and Alan Halsey for supporting this event.

For more information about the Small Publishers Fair,
please visit:

Photos in ascending order:
Pauline Walker, Nicole Moore & Fiona Joseph (courtesy of Yasmin)
Fiona Joseph
Pauline Walker

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Spread the Word 15

On 12th November, I was invited, courtesy of Patsy Antoine, to Spread the Word's 15th Anniversary Party at Brixton Library, South London. This was a party to celebrate 15 years of looking out for London's writers. Hosted by Malika Booker, our entertainment included an opening presentation by Bernadine Evaristo, author and former Director of Spread the Word; writer Karen McCarthy Woolf who did something weird in the weird corner! Stacy Makishi performed 'There's a Hole in My Heart That Goes All The Way to China' and Patsy Antoine & Nathalie Teitler answered questions on the Wall of Sound...

I met some new contacts, including Barra pictured with me celebrating above, and some old contacts including Olu, who has won several prizes for short stories, and is an inspiration to be in the presence of. It was just a lovely way to party, literary style of course!

Oh and as I was leaving, I was presented with a wonderful goody bag, which included a copy of Stephen King on Writing, which I have heard is a must read memoir of the craft, a copy of Poetry London and a copy of Home from Home, which presents a snap shot of the Elephant & Castle at the beginning of the 21st Century, by Eva Sajovic (photos) and Sarah Butler (text).

Spread the Word is a catalyst for developing writers. They provide a dynamic range of services and opportunities for all levels of writers including advice and information, networking, mentoring, events and work in the community. For more information, please visit:

As always, I felt so inspired by this event, that during my tube journey home, I got busy jotting down notes for my new collection of creative writing (poems & personal essays) and that is what it's all about...

Photos in ascending order:
Nicole Moore & Barra - courtesy of Patsy Antoine
Patsy Antoine
Nicole Moore

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Streetlife FM - Waltham Forest

Another great start to the month, today, I was invited by Gillian Lawrence as a guest on Streetlifefm radio show, with presenter Mary Blue, based at a new space in Waltham Forest College, East London.

I have to admit I love participating in radio shows; its the spontaneity that inspires me, and this community show was fun! I even got to select a playlist of 3 of my favourite songs, which included Exodus by Bob Marley and two tracks from The Diary of Alicia Keys CD (If I was your woman; If I ain't got you).

My slot lasted about 25 minutes and included me discussing my background as a writer/poet and reading extracts from my book Hair Power Skin Revolution's poems: My Hair and Lost for Words.

As luck would have it, I have been invited to appear on Mary Blue's show again on Thursday, 2nd December. Watch this space...

Photos courtesy of Gillian Lawrence in ascending order:

Nicole Moore & Mary Blue
Nicole Moore

For more info about Streetlifefm visit:

Friday, 22 October 2010

Writing Our Legacy - Brighton Black History Month

As part of Black History Month, I was invited to participate in Writing Our Legacy, a Brighton & Hove Black History Month literary showcase held on 21st October 2010, at the Redroaster Coffee House, St James Street, Brighton.

It was a real privilege to take part in this fabulous event, well attended by over 70 people, which showcased a dynamic mix of poetry, prose, dance, music, arts and literary greatness.

I met key people: volunteers on the Black History Month project part of Brighton & Hove Black History project the Positive Hair Day project and the Mosaic project a Black & Mixed Parentage Family Group.

More importantly, I received 5-star treatment from the Black History Month organisers, namely Amy Riley, who came across my anthology, Hair Power Skin Revolution, on while searching for authors to read at the event; Bert Williams, Chair of the Black History Month project, who met me at Brighton station and gave me a quick tour and information guide of the very important and impressive Black History Month project, which continues to develop on a daily basis all year round; Sarah Lee, who set up the Positive Hair Day project, Edi Mandala, our MC for the night, and Tony the DJ who took care of the sound/mic checks, and Kat who took the photos above.

And as if that wasn’t enough, I was treated to a pre-show meal with the Black History Month crew, at Sing-Tong Thai Cuisine, above the Pond Pub in Gloucester Road, where I ate the most delicious food that I had to find the chef and pay him my compliments!

The showcase line-up was impressive and included Margaret Busby OBE, Woodrow Phoenix, Monica Akila, Rounke Williams, Uschi Gatward, Spliff Richards, Ed Siegle with short readings from the Positive Hair Day project.

I read extracts from Hair Power Skin Revolution’s Introduction: The Journey So Far, extracts from Our Crowning Glory, a hair essay by Dr Valerie Mason-John and my hair poem, My Hair and judging by the loud applause and feedback received during the interval from such a conscious, cultured and appreciative audience, I just know that I’ll be visiting Brighton again very soon!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Hair Power Skin Revolution - Millfield Arts Centre

As part of Black History Month, I was invited to host a Hair Power Skin Revolution book reading event on 13th October 2010 at Millfield Arts Centre based in Edmonton, North London. The event was well attended by over 80 people and two contributors read their hair story and performed a poem and I read extracts from my hair story and personal essay.

The audience participation was particularly encouraging and interactive with thought-provoking and inspiring questions being raised about the issues of hair and skin. Natural hair tips were discussed and shared and the discussion about the increasing use of skin lightening creams within the Black (and Asian) community here and in the Caribbean was informative and enlightening. (The above collage was displayed).

The line up went as follows:
Nicole Moore read extracts from The Journey So Far: An Introduction.
Daniella Blechner performed her poem Hair We Are accompanied by Amelia Parillon.
A short film, Hair We Are, made by Daniella Blechner, was screened: a poetry based comedy that follows two young girls who explore their black identity through hair.
Colette Machado read her hair story Naturally Relaxed!
Nicole Moore read extracts from a personal essay from the skin section, Are You Black or White?

Many thanks to the contributors who made the evening a great success. And of course, many thanks to the Millfields Arts Centre staff, Paul Everitt, Arts Centre Manager and Nick Coult, Customer Services Team Supervisor, who supported the event in a professional and helpful way. The venue, Millfield Cabaret, is a lovely space and I thoroughly enjoyed hosting the event there and hope to be back again sometime soon!

Photos in ascending order:
Group photo:
L to R: Colette Machado, Nicole Moore, Daniella Blechner & Amelia Parillon
Daniella Blechner & Amelia Parillon
Colette Machado
Skin-lightening cream adverts

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Natural Lounge Meet Up - 4th Book Reading

What a great start to the month. Today, I was invited to read extracts from my book Hair Power Skin Revolution at The Natural Lounge Meet Up at the Traffic Bar in Holborn, London. This is the 4th book reading that has been held. I talked about how the idea for the book evolved from a Black History Month project in October 2008, where I collected and edited black women's Africentric natural hair stories to post on a new Hair Stories Blog I read my hair story, A Journey to Natural Hair and ended with a poem Settling In from Louisa Adjoa-Parker, one of the book's contributors.

The agenda included an official welcome from Jennifer Jumbe of Big Idea's Networking, who also hosted the event. Girl in a Thunderbolt, performed two of her latest tracks from her new album Seven Sisters.

After the break, Michelle Olorunda gave a talk, Caring for your Hair - The Natural Way with Naturally Nubian who also has a popular You Tube Natural channel
The event was well attended by over 100 people, which generated alot of inspiring and thought-provoking debate, including Natural Hair in the workplace, which focused on one of the main reasons why people don't want to go natural is because they are afraid it is perceived as not professional for the work place. I felt that most of the commentary was positive in that women shared that often it was other black women who questioned their decision to go natural and that in most cases, natural hair is embraced rather than frowned upon.

Thanks must go to Angel Smith who set up the natural lounge website and organised the event. I'd also like to thank Anduosjahla James-Wheatle, one of the book's contributors, for her support by accompanying me and taking the photos posted above.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Waterstones' Literature Event

The 3rd Hair Power Skin Revolution book reading event was held at Waterstones, Enfield, on 17th September 2010. The event was well attended and four contributors read a rich mix of their hair story, poems and personal essays and with an eager and interactive audience, an inspiring questions and answers session followed. The line up went as follows:

Patsy Antoine read her hair story, Growing Roots
Yvonne Witter read her personal essay, Natura Politica
Dorothy Cornibert du Boulay read her poem, Jan Blan Hair
Jennifer Hooper read her poem, Skin Layer

This was the first reading event I had held in a mainstream bookshop and it felt so good to have the support of Waterstones’ staff and to be immersed in a room full of books! It was a cosy and intimate atmosphere and judging from the warm vibes in the room and the conversations I had during the break and at the end of the evening, the event was enjoyed by all.

Many thanks to the contributors whose participation enlightened us by making their work come to life in a way that just doesn’t and cannot happen when it is read to yourself. Many thanks to the audience participants, many of whom had come from far and wide, including Rosa Garman who was returning to Edinburgh on the 11pm train later that evening! (By the way, Rosa is collecting hair stories for her studies, so do check out my blog posting dated 13/08/10).

And of course, many thanks to the Waterstones' staff who supported the event and provided the refreshments!

Photos in ascending order:
Group photo:
L to R: Patsy Antoine, Nicole Moore, Jennifer Hooper and Dorothy Cornibert du Boulay
Patsy Antoine
Yvonne Witter
Dorothy Cornibert du Boulay
Jennifer Hooper
Group photo, courtesy of Waterstones’ staff member
Remaining photos, courtesy of Nicole Moore

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

BBC Radio 4 - Woman's Hour

The Politics of Black Hair

On 30th August, BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour broadcast a programme presented by Jane Garvey, which was devoted to the history, politics and colour of hair. The programme explored how hair has been used to indicate status, power and politics throughout the ages and across cultures.

I was pleased to participate in such a discussion along with music journalist Jacqueline Springer. We covered the politics of weaves, wigs and relaxers and I emphasised how I wear my hair natural, i.e. unprocessed and would advocate natural hair over the lengths that a lot of black women will go to achieve longer, smoother straighter 'good hair', using relaxers, weaves (which I tried once in the seventies and lasted only 3 days as I couldn't bear it).

I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in such a lively debate on hair and of course have to give thanks to the producer Dianne McGregor who spent quality time carrying out research by talking to me before the show and to Jane Garvey who I thought presented the show in a creative and innovative way.

Thanks must also go to Norma Treasure-Garwood, a contributor to my anthology Hair Power Skin Revolution, who informed me about the forthcoming Woman's Hour programme.

To listen to the podcast which will be listed under 30th August, please visit:

Photo courtesy of BBC Radio 4:
L-R Fashion Historian Caroline Cox, Vidal Sassoon's Hair Colour Director Edward Darley, Presenter Jane Garvey (seated), me and music journalist Jacqueline Springer.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Jilted, Circa 2005

Introducing Hannah Edeki, a new poet and writer, born and bred in London. Her work has been published in The New Black Magazine, Shangwe News and Palapala Magazine.

Jilted, Circa 2005

I have seen the yellow corydalis
Tilt its trumpet-shaped head towards
A bed of unsculptured green,
Watched the long-tongued bees veiled with pollen,
Oscillating, celebrating.

I have tasted the decadent sweetness
Of my fianc├ęs kiss, quaint & still,
I have seen the shortcomings of a satiated soul.

I have held the arms of one believed to be strong,
Felt the weakness that punctures a wounded heart,
Jilted: I have thought about drifting
Along salty air like fulmars—


Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Hair Power - Skin Revolution US review breaks

Book reviews are particularly important as they can influence a potential buyer's purchase as well as give a little insight into the book's content and style, so when Margaret Auguste, a contributor to Hair Power Skin Revolution wrote to me saying how all her friends and family are really enjoying the book and that she had shared the book with her book club and have decided to read it for their August meeting, I was thrilled. Margaret also agreed to write a review of the book.

Margaret then went on to say, 'I really think more people here in America would enjoy the book if they knew about it.' She also suggested a few valuable contact websites. Little did she know that I had make the book available in the US on but of course that didn't mean people knew about it, so I followed up the contacts she suggested.

One contact requested I post them a review copy of the book, saying that he couldn't promise a review as only one in five books may be chosen . No problem, I thought and eagerly set off to the post office with the book.

Just under a week later, on 3rd August, a review was posted on The Sly Fox Film Reviews site, published by film critic Kam Williams, Voted Most Outstanding Journalist of the Decade by the Disilgold Soul Literary Review in 2008. Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications around the US, Europe, Asia, Africa, Canada and the Caribbean. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee and Rotten Tomatoes.

In addition to a BA in Black Studies from Cornell, Kam Fox has an MA in English from Brown, and MBA from The Wharton School, and a JD from Boston University. Kam lives in Princeton, NJ with his wife and son.

The review has now reached website audiences in Pittsburgh, Haiti, Dallas, and more. To read the full review, follow one of the links below:

Sunday, 8 August 2010

You're Beautiful, Woman! 2010

On 7th August, I was fortunate to be at the 3rd You're Beautiful, Woman! held at Highgate Newtown Community Centre, London N19. This was a constructive annual event celebrating black female beauty in all its forms: fashion, hair, beauty and more. The day was packed full of seminars with a range of speakers and a vibrant market place, which is where I spent most of the day.

I was there in the name of Shangwe to promote my 3rd anthology Hair Power Skin Revolution and I thoroughly enjoyed the interest received about my writing journey and of the concept and journey of my book. The networking was particularly powerful as I met not only some beautiful women, but exchanged business cards with a lot of inspirational women, who are a great representation and testimony of the way black women are aspiring and achieving in their own right.

For example, I met:
Amina Whittey, of Cohort Learning, a teacher and training consultant working to ensure that our children of colour receive the best education, particularly regarding our history;

Regina Jere-Malanda, Editor of New African Woman Magazine who is doing a fantastic job with the magazine. The word depth truly comes to mind; great articles, serious and thought-provoking subjects are particularly engaging and satisfying to indulge in as well as some vibrant and groundbreaking fashion;

I exchanged books with Alison Husbands, author of The Afro Hair & Beauty Bible a lovely book to own with secrets of how to achieve and maintain beautiful healthy Afro hair, including skin care tips and make-up brands that work best with black skin, and excellent photographic images;

Angel Smith's recent achievement in setting up The Natural Lounge, a UK website for those who wear their hair natural was a rare treat and I look forward to attending one of her forthcoming events. Her article From Relaxer to Natural is particularly inspiring as she reveals in an honest and open way how she made the decision to take out her braids and leave her hair natural. She sums it up when she says, "...I realised that most of the fears about going natural are in our own heads and not the outside world...' You can read the full article on page 29 of Lime Magazine's Caribbean Fever Edition:

Rosa Garman, a student at Edinburgh University who is currently writing her dissertation on the politics that surround Black women's hair in Britain, specifically looking at the motivations behind hair relaxing. More about her in a future blog posting;

Olumide Solanke, Managing Editor of ninetynine magazine, launched in March 2009. The magazine features poetry, music, relationships, health & fitness, people in the media and much more. Do visit:

Oh and I also made sure to capture the moment with those all important photos - in ascending order, Patsy Antoine, (anthology contributor), me and Jacqueline Reid; Patsy Antoine & Jacqueline Reid.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Hair Power - Skin Revolution: 2nd Book Reading

The second Hair Power – Skin Revolution book reading event was held on 17th July 2010, at the Poetry Cafe, in Covent Garden, London, co-hosted by myself and Nicola Greenwood.

Two contributors Anduosjahla James-Wheatle and Yolande Deane read their hair story and personal essay from the book’s hair section. I participated in an in-depth interview (questions courtesy of Pauline Walker, anthology contributor and contributor to the Catchavibe website). I also read my personal essay and two poems from the skin section. The line up went as follows:

Anduosjahla James-Wheatle read her hair story,
My Journey to Me
Co-Host Nicola Greenwood interviewed me on the following questions:

1. Why did you choose the themes of hair and skin?
2. You’ve previously published two other anthologies showcasing the writing of black and mixed-race women Brown Eyes and Sexual Attraction Revealed. What is it about anthologies that you like?
3. What is it about the form of the personal essay and poetry that appeals to you over creative forms such as short stories and novels?
4. Your book comes out at a time when there seems to be more interest in black women and how they manage their hair, for example, the recently released Chris Rock documentary Good Hair lifts the lid on how African-American women manage their hair. Why do you think this is?
5. Do you think the book should be required reading for young girls and teenagers in today’s society?
6. What’s the difference between the Hair Stories section and the Personal Essay’s section on hair?

Yolande Deane read her hair essay,
Still a Bird…but not a Robin
Nicola Greenwood read her hair poem, Hair Place
I read my skin essay, Are You Black or White? And 2 skin poems: Lost for Words; Skin

The event was well attended with inspiring questions and debate received from a lively and interactive audience. I felt encouraged not only by the inspirational and vibrant energy in the room, but also by the audience’s suggestions that I make contact with comic Chris Rock, or at least send him a publicity leaflet, (which was something that I had recently discussed with Nicola Greenwood) – along with Gok Wan; who knows we just might generate some interest! Again, thanks to the anthology's contributors who read and to co-host Nicola Greenwood for ensuring that the evening was a wonderful creative expression of the book's reading programme.

Photos in ascending order:

1.Yolande Deane, Nicole Moore,
Nicola Greenwood, & Anduosjahla James Wheatle.
2.Anduosjahla James Wheatle.
3.Yolande Deane.

Photo 1: Courtesy of Amanda Epe
Photos 2 & 3: Courtesy of Nicole Moore

The interview referred to above is now online here:

Mixed-Race & the Arts

I was invited to speak at the People in Harmony Annual Conference: 'Mixed Race & The Arts', held on 17th July 2010 at Ealing Friends Meeting House, West London. The event was opened and chaired by Vicki Hart-Dale. Speakers on the conference schedule were:

Tones and Textures Tenee Attoh
Cast a poem performed by Amaka Okafor
'A Socio-Genetic Experiment': Hip Hop and the 'Mixed-Race' Experience Dr Kevin Searle
Hidden Secrets of the Past: Unveiling of the Casta Paintings Tara Munroe
The Threads of My Journey Gloria Ojulari Sule

My presentation, The Journey So Far, explored my writing journey, which started in 1995 and I shared how despite the odds against getting my work published, I decided to tackle the publishing side of things myself, with the support of grants from the Arts Council.

It was a relaxing event, full of inspiration and positive vibes and I felt it was a rare experience to meet and network with such likeminded, yet unique mixed-race individuals.

For more information contact:

Photo courtesy of Tenee Attoh
Left to right: Kevin Searle, Amaka Okafor, Nicole Moore, Vicki Hart-Dale & Tara Munroe (Inset: Nicole Moore)

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Hansib Publications

Do you have a manuscript to publish?

Novel; Short Stories; Thesis; Poetry

Why not send Hansib Publications your submissions for consideration?


In 2010, Hansib Publications celebrates the 40th anniversary of its publishing activities. The company was founded in 1970 by Guyana-born Arif Ali following the sale of his north London-based West Indian food business. The following year the company launched its first title (the monthly magazine West Indian Digest) and since then has published magazines, newspapers and books for Britain's 'visible' minority communities. Hansib Publications continued to expand its multicultural publishing activities and, from the beginning of the 1970s, produced newspapers, magazines and periodicals for Britain's Caribbean, Asian and African communities. These titles included Caribbean Times, Asian Times, African Times, Asian Digest, Roo Magazine and West Indian World.

Since the beginning of the 1980s, Hansib has published more than two hundred books and specialist titles. With forty years' experience in multicultural publishing, Hansib Publications is widely acknowledged as having established regular visible minority publishing in the UK.

Hansib books are available throughout the UK in bookshops, libraries, schools, colleges, universities, specialist outlets and online from A growing network of distributors in the Caribbean and North America has ensured that Hansib books are available in many countries, including Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Canada, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago and the USA.

Contact details:

Hansib Publications, PO Box 226, Hertford, SG14 3WY
T: +44 (0)208 523 0888

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

And The Beat Goes On...

Following on from the launch of Shangwe's 3rd anthology, Hair Power Skin Revolution and in true Shangwe style and spirit, I hosted the first reading event at the Poetry Cafe, in Covent Garden, London, on 21st June 2010. Over 40 people attended and six contributors read a rich mix of their poems and personal essays and with an eager and interactive audience, an inspiring questions and answers session followed. The line up went as follows:

Daniella Blechner read her poem, Hair We Are, and provided a double-act, supported by Andrina George.
Nicola Greenwood read her poem, Hair Place
Cristina Odigie-Bulnes read her personal essay, Colourful Perceptions
Amanda Epe read her personal essay, Brighter Days for African Beauty
Nehanda Buchanan read her hair story, Hear My Lifetime Hair Journey
Scherin Barlow Massay read her poem, No Lye! and her personal essay, A Journey of Self Discovery.
I also read my poem, My Hair.

Judging from the positive and warm vibes in the room and the conversations I had during the break and at the end of the evening, the event was enjoyed by all, despite the nerves that a few contributors shared as they read/performed for the first time.

I felt the evening was a wonderful start to the book's reading programme, especially blending the poems with personal essays and I now have a few ideas on how to approach future readings.

Photos in ascending order:

Contributors & Nicole Moore, courtesy of Winston Greenwood.
Daniella Blechner & Andrina George
Nicola Greenwood
Cristina Odigie-Bulnes
Amanda Epe
Nehanda Buchanan
Scherin Barlow Massay
Remaining photos, courtesy of Nicole Moore

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Shangwe's 3rd Book Launch

On the evening of 11th June 2010, Shangwe's 3rd anthology Hair Power Skin Revolution was launched. The event was held at Edmonton Green Library, North London. Over 50 people attended, including 20 anthology contributors and their friends and family.

The Launch Host, award-winning Akuba Quansah, led the evening by providing an In Conversation style of interview with me, covering questions on my inspiration for the book, my role as editor, links with the previous two anthologies, insights gained through the contributions, the publishing process and my future aspirations. Akuba then invited questions from the audience.

Six anthology contributors - Christine Collymore, Nicola Greenwood, Tracy Henry, Michelle Hubbard, Bola Odeyemi and Akuba Quansah then read their poems, which brought their contributions to life to a well received audience.

Wine and light refreshments were then served, courtesy of Edmonton Green Library, and networking followed. I enjoyed the night alot, particularly meeting the contributors and their guests and felt we all participated and celebrated in true Shangwe style.

Photos in ascending order:
Akuba Quansah & Nicole Moore
Michelle Hubbard
Christine Collymore
Nicola Greenwood
Tracy Henry
Bola Odeyemi
Akuba Quansah

Photos courtesy of Ursula Troche and Yolande Deane.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Shangwe's 3rd Anthology

Hair Power - Skin Revolution is a Shangwe produced anthology and will soon be available in the book shops and on-line distributors. The collection includes poetry and personal essay contributions from 48 authors, that explore the issues, interests, cultural and historical influences that have shaped their times and their imaginations.

The writers offer empowering and creative ways of understanding and relating to the themes of hair and skin. They tell their narratives, presenting their views in passionate, intelligent, humorous, strong and reflective voices.

The book launch will take place in June 2010. The first Reading Event will be held at the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden, on 21st June 8-10pm.

To get your copy please order via email: Price £9.99 plus £1.80 postage and packing.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Open Notebooks

is created and curated by poet Karen McCarthy and commissioned by literature development agency Spread the Word.

Karen will be opening up her notebook to write 10 new poems online and sharing the creative process. The poems may include hyperlinks, image (video and stills) and audio trails. Karen is interested in how poetry intercepts with the web: in how what we write here could be unique and how that work is viewed/read by audiences.

For more information go to:

Spread the Word plan to launch this project in June.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

How books are sold

On 24th February, I attended a seminar held by The Society of Authors on How books are sold: What published authors need to know, which covered:

In the chain from publisher to reader, who is involved, and why?
When it comes to making money from the sale of a book, who gets what and why? Online bookselling: does it boost or risk destroying the market?

Representatives to discuss the above were:
Phil Edwards, Senior Buying Manager of Gardners, the UK's leading book wholesaler;
Fiona Kennedy, Head of Non-Fiction at Waterstone's, the UK's leading specialist bookseller;
Simon Skinner, Sales Director of Nielson BookData.

Being a new member of the Society of Authors, I didn't know what to expect. However, I was impressed, as the event was well organised, well attended (at least 500 people) and very informative.

I was particularly interested and somewhat inspired by Fiona Kennedy's presentation. Waterstone's are going through a period of transition and seemed open to hearing the audiences' strong views and opinions. What Waterstone's look for in a potential book is: content, cover, price, track record, E-book version, local market, new talent, new voices, and alot more.

I came away feeling that the book industry was less of a mystery!

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Keeper of the Keys

I came across this poem in a book called Thinking for a Change by John C Maxwell:

Keeper of the Keys

You are the keeper of the keys
You are the Guard at the Gate
Waiting in line to go through that door
is LOVE. And also HATE.
In line to enter is GENTLE PEACE.
You must choose who may, and who
May not come through the door.
INTOLERANCE tries to sneak on through
On wings of FEAR, or PRIDE.
It hides behind DREAMS of BELONGING,
And tries to sneak inside.
Oh! Be alert! You're the Guard who decides
Who GOES and who may STAY
You are The Keeper of the Keys to your Mind.
Who will you let in today?