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Poetry / Spoken Word

Finding homes for your writing
23rd October 2021

By Laila Sumpton

Where We Find Ourselves is a new publication by Arachne Press edited by Sandra A Agard and myself, which gathers together the voices of 45 writers of the Global Majority. We judged the competition blind, but were delighted to see that our selected poetry and short story writers had such a wide range of heritage covering practically the entire globe.

Over the past five to ten years there has been a huge improvement in the diversity of writers at festivals, winning competitions and getting published – and you may ask ‘do we still need publications exclusively for Global Majority or Black and Minority Ethnic writers? They’re doing so well?’ However, wins at the top of the writing field can only continue if the whole ecosystem can be supported – so ‘Where We Find Ourselves’ and similar initiatives remain essential for widening the stories we hear. The collection includes a broad range of talent from established writers such as Dean Atta, Rick Dove, Anita Goveas, Selina Nwulu and Seni Seneviratne, to those who have never submitted their work before.

One writer of refugee heritage submitted her work on the advice of her support worker when she shared a poem for refugee week, another had no internet connection at home so took a lot of train rides so they could send in their work. For some this is their first publication, and it is wonderful to see such a range of writers standing shoulder to shoulder in this collection telling us about exile, language loss, colonisation, police violence, care homes and yoga classes. You will travel around the world and to many unexpected places – sometimes your journey will be surreal, sometimes lyrical, sometimes painfully real. There are so many poems and stories out there that need a similar home, and I hope that Global Majority writers and the organisations they work with will continue building these homes.

Sandra and I enjoyed meeting new and familiar voices when we finally assembled the stories and poems, and are looking forward to celebrating in person at our launches at Keats House (31st October- sold out!) and online (November 4th).

Laila Sumpton 

Arachne Press invites you to join them at the free online launch for Where We Find Ourselves on Thursday, 4 November 2021 at 7pm. The launch will be hosted by Laila Sumpton and Sandra A. Agard and will feature readings by Marka Rifat, Alireza Abiz, L Kiew, Yvie Holder, Dipika Mummery, Desiree Reynolds, marina sanchez, Nikita Chadha, Victoria Ekpo, Shamini Sriskandarajah, Seni Seneviratne and Sundra Lawrence.

Book your place at the online launch on Eventbrite