Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 3,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Baltimore, Maryland — “I don’t care if I’m called an Instagram poet. I really don’t care as long as people are reading it and connecting with it”.

Yrsa-Daley Ward, the English-born Nigerian-Jamaican writer, was part of the line-up of writers with featured sessions at CityLit Project’s 15th Annual CityLit Festival in Baltimore on Saturday April 14, 2018.

Citylit Project is a nonprofit organization founded in 2004 that promotes literature in and around Baltimore and across Maryland. The organization brings together writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, memoir, screenwriting, playwriting and storytelling for a daylong festival at the University of Baltimore for panel discussions, speakers’ series and workshops.

Daley-Ward taught a 90-minute Master Class called ‘The Way Things Feel”, a course for emerging and established writers that explored ways to tell one’s truth—how to bring real-life experiences onto the page.

Daley-Ward is the author of a successful collection of poems called Bone. She first self-published her book through Amazon in 2014 and then developed a loyal fan base of thousands on Instagram after sharing her poetry on the platform. Her book Bone was then picked up in 2017 by a mainstream publisher Penguin and reissued with additional poems.

She is also featured in the Badilisha Poetry X-Change, an online audio archive and Pan-African poetry program produced in radio format.

When asked how she got started, Dale-Ward said that her poet-friend Nayirrah Waheed encouraged her to collect her poetry in a book and publish them. During her workshop, she emphasized the importance of writers having a community that supports, challenges and believes in them.

Here are some of the tips Yrsa-Daley Ward offered attendees of her workshop on writing their truths from their lived experiences:

  • Where was I when this tragedy or experience took place?
  • Notice the small things.
  • What is said or done that makes the air change, since everything is a projection of change? What changed?
  • What feeling am I left with? Talk about the feeling in your body.
  • Don’t be passive about the things that have happened in your life. Those things that we don’t want to feel—it’s important to feel the truth.
  • Write fresh out of the dreaming when your mind is open.
  • If you feel stuck on what you want to produce, look at the writing that resonates with you. Look at what you’re reading.
  • You need to trust yourself when writing. Encouragement from others is important, but you need to trust yourself first.
  • Write without obligation. When you write, it has to be a free and wild place, not one of obligation.
  • To write well or have things to write about, go out and have experiences. Be interested in people. Watch people. Travel.
  • Before I go to sleep, I make a gratitude list of all the things I’m thankful for and when I wake up, I meditate—it’s important for me to set the tone for the rest of my day.

Before ending the workshop, she reiterated that writers should “read everything you can get your hands on. Read diversely. Read things you wouldn’t otherwise read. Read outside of yourself.”

Daley-Ward is currently based in New York City. Her forthcoming work The Terrible: A Storyteller’s Memoir will be released in June 5, 2018. You may preorder your copy on Penguin’s website. In the U.S., order here. For the UK, order here. You may also preorder on Amazon here.

 

*********

About the Author:

Arao Ameny is a Ugandan-born MFA Fiction student at the University of Baltimore and resides in Columbia, Maryland. She’s obsessed with Zimbabwean writer Dambudzo Marechera. Find out what she’s reading on Twitter at @africanwriter or Instagram at africanwriter.

 

Tags: , ,

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Luna Press’ Harvester Series Includes New Collections by Wole Talabi and Nick Woods

wole talabi book

As part of its Harvester Series, a publication programme for collections of old and new stories plus bonus material, the […]

Tade Thompson Wins Arthur C Clarke Award, for Rosewater, the First Novel in His Wormwood Trilogy

tade thompson - rosewater - graph - while reading and walking

The Nigerian writer and psychiatrist Tade Thompson has won the 2019 Arthur C Clarke Award, the UK’s premier honour for […]

In Her Debut Memoir, Bassey Ikpi Deepens Our Understanding of Mental Health by Sharing Her Own Journey

bassey ikpi - graph image - david asumah

In 2004, while on tour with Def Poetry Jam, the Nigerian poet and spoken word artist Bassey Ikpi was diagnosed […]

Wo̩lé S̩óyinká’s Forthcoming Book, His 50th at Age 85, Looks at the Aesthetics, Traditions, & Histories of African Art

wole soyinka - beyond aesthetics

Fresh from celebrations for his 85th birthday days ago, Wo̩lé S̩óyinká has a new book coming. An expansion of his […]

Royal African Society: The UK Home Office Visa Service Discriminating Against Africans

Royal African Society - UK visa (2)

The following is a press release by the Royal African Society.  Home Office Visa Service Discriminating Against Africans “Home Office […]

The Auditory Art of Storytelling in A Small Silence | Reviews by Ainehi

jumoke verissimo a small silence (1)

  A Small Silence is the debut novel by Nigerian poet Jumoke Verissimo. The story is sad, funny, and inspiring […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.