The debut collection of Warsan Shire, a former Young Poet Laureate of London who has worked with Beyoncé, will be published by Chatto & Windus in collaboration with flipped eye.
Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head will be published in the UK in hardback, e-book and audio on 3rd March by Chatto & Windus, in collaboration with publisher flipped eye. Flipped eye will be publishing a special limited edition of the collection on 24th February 2022. It will be published in the US on 1st March by Random House.
Clara Farmer, publisher at Chatto, and editor Charlotte Humphery, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from flipped eye publishing with Rocking Chair Books’ Samar Hammam acting as agent. Translation rights are held by Rocking Chair Books and have already sold in eight territories.
Publication of Shire’s first collection will be marked by a major international campaign of publicity, partnerships and events across “poetry, music and beyond", Chatto said. The collection is billed by the publisher as “fierce and intimate poems of migration, womanhood, trauma and resilience”.
The blurb reads: “Drawing from her own life and the lives of loved ones, as well as pop culture and news headlines, Shire finds vivid, unique details in the experiences of refugees and immigrants, mothers and daughters, Black women and teenage girls. These are noisy lives, full of music and weeping and surahs. These are fragrant lives, full of blood and perfume and jasmine. These are polychrome lives, full of moonlight and turmeric and kohl.”
Shire is a Somali-British writer and poet born in Nairobi and raised in London but is now based in Los Angeles. She has written two chapbooks, Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth and Her Blue Body, both published by flipped eye. She was awarded the inaugural Brunel International African Poetry Prize and served as the first Young Poet Laureate of London. She is the youngest member of the Royal Society of Literature and is included in the Penguin Modern Poets series.
She also wrote the poetry for Peabody Award-winning visual album “Lemonade” and Disney film “Black Is King”, in collaboration with Beyoncé. She also wrote the short film “Brave Girl Rising”, highlighting the voices and faces of Somali girls in Africa’s largest refugee camp.
Shire said: “Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head is an exploration of how far the tendrils of childhood trauma reach. An invocation for parentified children and the adolescents/adults they become. A rite of passage into girlhood, looking back and forward in a surreal examination of family, everything remembered and forgotten meet in a fever dream.”
Farmer and Humphery said: “To encounter Warsan’s work is an unforgettable experience; she writes with sharpness and tenderness and intimacy – and her poetry inhabits the mind and body of the reader.”
Nii Parkes, editor at flipped eye, commented: "Ours is a love affair of over a decade, and Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head marks the further blossoming of a talent that has yet to reach its zenith.”
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