Help fund research on my new novel, SAMO LIVES!

by Gemma Weekes in London, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 21st August 2019 we successfully raised £1,000 with 35 supporters in 28 days

Research in NYC for my upcoming book 'Samo Lives' - a genre-breaking romp through Basquiat’s NYC through the eyes of a black mermaid.

by Gemma Weekes in London, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

Wow! I'm so excited and thankful to have reached my target! Thank you! All extra money raised will go towards a decent mic with which to record the accompanying music to the project, so please feel free to keep pledging. Thanks so much! My heart is full. <3 

About me

I am a published author (Love Me, Chatto & Windus 2009), poet and multidisciplinary artist interested in the transformative power of storytelling; how it can reclaim the past, vision the future, and humanise the experience of marginalised groups. My hope is to bring to the page the kind of joy felt when a beat drops, or when a good flavour busts loose on the tongue. My inspirations range from Iceberg Slim to Henry Miller, Toni Morrison to Sun-Ra and Kamau Braithwaite, James Baldwin to Charles Mingus, jazz and hip-hop, love, sex: the resilience and artistic ingenuity of the black diaspora.

About the novel

Samo Lives (working title) is a genre-breaking, poetic novel about a black mermaid searching to complete herself; about the transformative nature of love and art to heal ancestral wounds and addiction; a 200 year bop from an 18th century slave ship to 1980's New York, blending fact and fiction with eckphrastic flights into the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat. The text will be for reading in the traditional way, but also play with design to bring the work viscerally to the page and encourage performance and reading aloud. 

What the money is for

The money I raise will enable me to do three weeks of essential research in New York City needed to attack the second draft of my novel.  I was lucky enough to receive funding from Arts Council England and The British Council for my early collaborations with Nyugen Smith, scratch performances, and my first draft of the piece as a manuscript.  This has all been achieved while truly opening out the story and making its themes clearer. At this stage I need to explore, conduct interviews, have dedicated time to absorb the rhythms and atmosphere of the place while I bring the second draft to fruition. With fresh and experimental work, there is more pressure to realise it fully before choosing a publisher or vehicle that will do justice to the work. By helping fund this project, you will not only enable me to complete it, but to complete it with integrity and style. 

What the novel will achieve

Creatively, I want this novel to honour the weight of its subject matter; to explore love, art and the black body with sensitivity, freshness, atmosphere and wit. No pressure. Career-wise I want the opportunity, via completing this work (looong in the making) to finally reward those who have supported me on the long wait from my first book, to find new readers who might find joy in the work. 


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£35 or more

3 of 10 claimed

Signed copy of 'Love Me'.

Personally-inscribed copy of 'Love Me' (send details of who to address it to).

£10 or more

A Personal Voice Note or Digital Thank You Note!

My eternal gratitude and the pleasure of knowing you helped this work come to life!

£20 or more

2 of 150 claimed

Exclusively-designed badge and thank you note!

An exclusively-designed badge featuring text from the novel-in-progress.

£75 or more

0 of 5 claimed

Personalised Poem

A poem written personally by Gemma Weekes for a friend, loved one, or for yourself to treasure.

£150 or more

1 of 5 claimed

Feedback on up to 20 pages of poetry/prose

Comprehensive, actionable feedback on up to twenty pages of your work, either poetry or prose with personal video call.

£250 or more

0 of 3 claimed

Personal Performance/Reading

A personal performance/reading from the work for you and your friends, for an event or function! Poetry, prose and song.

£500 or more

0 of 1 claimed

Comprehensive Feedback on full novel

Comprehensive, actionable feedback on your novel and advice on how to move your project forward.

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