Monthly Archives: November 2013

Royal Celebration of Contemporary Poetry

… and Afrobeat, Soul Train and Afro-Disco…

I have accepted my invitation.


Royal invite

The King:


The King of Afrobeat

The King (of Afrobeat) will be in conversation with fellow Numbi resident artist Elmi Ali – check Elmi’s review of An Autobiography of the Master Drummer of Afrobeat here.

The night will also featuring Shake! stars:  Onysha D Collins & Annie Rockson fresh from wowing the Free Word crowd at the #Shake2013 #PowerPropagandaPerceptions showcase.

And in a busy day for Shake! poets Annie & Onysha will also be joined by Lucas (of ‘Messy Python’ fame) for a poetry slot with Platform as part of the Live Art Development Agency event I HATE AMERICA! (I Love America).


Processed Sugar – Tangled Roots memoir

photo by Anthony Farrimond

photo by Anthony Farrimond

Processed Sugar
– a memoir of growing up ‘mixed-race’ (an extract)

Mum and dad never really thought they’d settle in Pontefract. Ponte was supposed to be tough. Hard, gritty. Neighbour of Fev, Cas, Wakey, ex-mining town, northern, White working class. They had lived in York.

One day, heavily pregnant with my older brother Andrew, my mother ventured out to Betty’s tea shop for a teacake. An elderly lady made room at her crowded table. In conversation, she remarked: “One of the good things about York is that there aren’t many coloureds.”

Pontefract was quite a change to York. Both had sweet factories, a castle and a racecourse but the Pomfretian tea shops were of a much lesser premium. In 1976 there weren’t that many ‘coloureds’ in Pontefract either. Out shopping in the town centre with myself in the pram and Andrew seated on top, my mother met another friendly stranger who felt moved enough to observe: “People like you are really good to look after these children.”

Unlike Andrew who had the misfortune to be born in soft, cosy, chocolate Florentine-d, lace doilie-d, middle class York, I was born and bred in Ponte. I was proud of the fact. “Where you from?” People would ask. “Ponte”, I would reply in my broadest Pomfretian. “No, I mean where were you born?” Not giving them what they wanted, I’d answer: “At the hospital. You?”

Read the full memoir here.


Tangled Roots is an Arts Council funded project which records and celebrates the experiences of multi-racial families in Yorkshire.

Contribute your own story or read others by Michelle Scally Clarke, Desiree Reynolds, Adam Lowe, Jane Steele, Emily Midorikawa & Seni Seneviratne by visiting the website