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."

UK-based initiative Inscribe Writer Development Programme has curated a new anthology published by Peepal Tree Press. Filigree: Contemporary Black British Poetry, edited by Nii Aykwei Parkes and with a preface by Dorothy Wang, collects compelling work from established Black British poets as well as by a wide array of young Black poets on the British literary scene, including members of The Complete Works, the Octavia collective, Barbican Young Poets, Young Poet Laureates of London, and poets nurtured and supported by the Inscribe Writer Development Programme. Among them are Nick Makoha and Momtaza Mehri, both of whom have won the Brunel Prize and have been shortlisted for the Brittle Paper Award for Poetry. Others include Tolu Agbelusi, Sui Anukka, Raymond Antrobus, Lynne E Blackwood, Siddhartha Bose (Sid), and Victoria Bulley.

The 127-page anthology launches on 23 November 2018 at King’s College, London.

Funded by ACE, Inscribe was created in 2004 by its Publications Manager Kadija George Sesay. By 2008, with the joining of Programmes Manager Dorothea Smartt, it had become a national “project to develop specific writers of African and Asian descent in Yorkshire.” Rooted in Peepal Tree Press’s practice of editorial development, an essential aspect of Inscribe is to publish emerging and new writers. Their previous anthology, RED (2010), was described by Michael Rosen as “a major contribution to the diverse cultures of blackness.”

In an email to Brittle Paper from intern Bethany Moore, the Inscribe team explained that Filigree: Contemporary Black British Poetry “contains work that plays with the possibilities that the word [‘filigree’] suggests.”

Filigree typically refers to the finer elements of craftwork, the parts that are subtle. Writers were invited to contemplate the “unspoken essential” and “intangible tangible.” Award-winning poet Hannah Lowe, author of Chick and Chan, describes what came in response as “testimonies and remembrances. . . poems of resistance and bombast, and hymns of love of all kinds.”

In the anthology’s preface, Dorothy Wang writes: “Most (white) poets and poetry scholars assume, consciously or not, that the only poetic interiority that matters is a white interiority. Thus, the endless poems by white poets with every emotion and quotidian observation presented to the reader as if they were profound and universal truths.” Filigree defies this assumption, forces its readers to challenge their ideas of poetic interiority, and celebrates the variety of poetry produced by these poets. Throughout the anthology’s journey, editor Nii Parkes says he has “revelled in the quirky turns of phrase and argument, the contemporary yet timeless imagery, the boldness of much of the work. At each turn I am more and more convinced of a future for British poets of colour embroidered with the finest of prizes and widespread critical recognition.”

Filigree editor Nii Ayikwei Parkes is an author, performance poet, and socio-cultural commentator. He is the author of the poetry chapbooks: eyes of a boy, lips of a man (1999), M is for Madrigal (2004), and Ballast (2009), an imagination of the slave trade by balloon. His novel Tail of the Blue Bird (Jonathan Cape, 2009) has been hailed by the Financial Times as “a beautifully written fable…grappling with urgent issues.” Parkes has led forums internationally and has sat on discussion panels for BBC Radio with Margaret Atwood. In 2007, he was awarded Ghana’s National ACRAG award for poetry and literary advocacy.

Dorothy Wang, who wrote the anthology’s preface, is Professor in the American Studies Program and Faculty Affiliate in the English Department at Williams College, Massachusetts. Her monograph Thinking Its Presence: Form, Race, and Subjectivity in Contemporary Asian American Poetry (Stanford University Press, 2013) received the Association for Asian American Studies’ award for best book of literary criticism in 2016, garnered honorable mention in the Poetry Foundation’s inaugural Pegasus Awards for Criticism in 2014, and was named among The New Yorker‘s “The Books We Loved in 2016.” The first national conference on race and creative writing in the United States, Thinking Its Presence (2014), was named after it. Wang, who has also published on Asian Australian literature, conceived of and co-founded the “Race and Poetry and Poetics in the UK” (RAPAPUK) research initiative.

Founded in 1985 and based in Leeds, Peepal Tree Press has been the home of the best in Caribbean and Black British fiction, poetry, literary criticism, memoirs and historical studies. In 2017, the independent publishing company won the Clarissa Luard Award for Independent Publishers, which recognises excellence and creativity in literary publishing. In 2009, it launched the Caribbean Modern Classics Series, which restores to print essential classic books from the 1950’s and 60’s.

For more information about Filigree: Contemporary Black British Poetrycontact: Kadija George at inscribewriters@gmail.com and Hannah Bannister at hannah@peepaltreepress.com or on the phone: 0113 245 1703.

Find Inscribe on Facebook at facebook.com/inscribewriters, on Twitter at @inscribewriters, on Instagram at @inscribewriters, or on Pinterest at pinterest.co.uk/inscribewriters. 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is completing a postgraduate degree in African Studies, and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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

Erotic Africa: The Sex Anthology | Read e-Book Exploring Millennial Sex Culture and Romance in African Cities

erotic-africa

Much has been said about the state of sex in African literature: whether African novelists are keen on sex, why […]

Zimbabwean Mapping Project Documents the Movements of Dambudzo Marechera in Harare

dambudzo marechera - graph

An unusual mapping project has documented the movements of Dambudzo Marechera in Harare. “Home Means Nothing to Me,” published in […]

Cyprian Ekwensi’s The Passport of Mallam Ilia Gets Animation Movie | Watch Teaser

The Passport of Mallam Ilia - animation

Cyprian Ekwensi’s popular novel The Passport of Mallam Ilia is being made into an animated movie. Premium Times reports that the 2D […]

Yrsa Daley-Ward’s The Terrible Makes Vogue’s Must-Read Books of 2018

yrsa daley-ward - image by Laurel Grolio for Girls At Library

Nigerian-Jamaican model-turned-Instapoet Yrsa Daley-Ward’s memoir The Terrible: A Storyteller’s Memoir has been named among Vogue magazine’s Must-Read Books of 2018. The follow […]

Film Adaptation of Soyinka’s Ake: The Years of Childhood, by Dapo Adeniyi, Tells the Story of the Legend as a Child in the 1940s | Watch Trailer 

Egba women wait on Mrs Kuti at the outset of the women’s riot3

The film adaptation of Wole Soyinka’s 1981 memoir Ake: The Years of Childhood is now available on Amazon. Set during the World […]

Erotic Africa: The Sex Anthology Forthcoming in December

erotic-africa

Twelve months after the call for submissions was made in January, we are happy to announce that Erotic Africa: The Sex […]

Thanks for signing up!

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

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.