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.
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.
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.
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.