Friday, 18 September 2020

Great NEW books for autumn 2020


Hey hello, how are you my friends,

I hope you are well and safe and sound. I hope you are wearing your seat belt and able to weather this roller-coaster of immense shifts and changes in season, changes and shifts in the planet and the ongoing story of us changing and shifting and making a better tomorrow. 

Somehow it is now already September and somehow already these are the last of these warm and golden days. Somehow we are now about to enter a second wave of this Coronavirus pandemic in the UK. All the news is bad, the numbers are escalating, all of it so terrible and terrifying. I write this trying not to sound panicky, anxious, trying not to show my fear. I write this holding onto my faith and hope for better times ahead, that change is here and change is inevitable and change is good.

Today I'd like to share some books with you as we hurtle into October and orangey autumn world. Here are some book-shaped, brightly coloured and powerful things to brighten up your inbox. I'm honoured and excited to have work included in two of these books, She Will Soar and How To Be More Pirate, both seem to come from a powerful intention, both contain messages of empowerment and community and courage, themes we all can use right now...

Take care out there my friends, 

stay safe and stay human 




Published 17.09.2020 

With poems from classic, well loved poets as well as innovative and bold modern voices, She Will Soar is a stunning collection and an essential addition to any bookshelf. From the ancient world right up to the present day, it includes poems on wanderlust, travel, daydreams, flights of fancy, escaping into books, tranquillity, courage, hope and resilience. From frustrated housewives to passionate activists, from servants and suffragettes to some of today’s most gifted writers, here is a bold choir of voices demanding independence and celebrating their hard-won power. Immerse yourself in poems by Carol Ann Duffy, Christina Rossetti, Stevie Smith, Sarah Crossan, Emily Dickinson, Salena Godden, Mary Jean Chan, Charly Cox, Nikita Gill, Fiona Benson, Hollie McNish and Grace Nichols to name but a few...

Treat yourself, order a copy HERE


 How To: Be More Pirate 

Sam Conniff and Alex Barker

published 24.09.2020

HOW TO: BE MORE PIRATE is a celebration of an eclectic mix of individual and organisations’ stories which show how small actions or shifts in thinking can have a huge positive impact on society and the world. The overarching idea that anyone can make a different and affect change for good, coupled with inspirational stories and practical tips makes this the book that everyone needs in their life.” it is described as a work that "comprises real peoples’ lives and testimonies: their moments of bravery and revelation, their missteps and mischief. It is a testament to the transformational power of a movement and a practical manifesto for aspiring pirates".

Treat yourself, order a copy from OWN IT! HERE 

Let's hear it for. . .  

Zora Neale Hurston 

Ships At a Distance: 

A Celebration of Zora Neale Hurston

Save the date: Wednesday October 28th

Don't miss out, book yourself a ticket here

‘There are years that ask questions 

and years that answer.’ — Zora Neale Hurston 

Hosted by Black Girls' Book Club co-founders 

Natalie Carter and Melissa Cummings-Quarry 

RSL Director Molly Rosenberg and The British Library 

in conversation with Salena Godden and Jackie Kay

discussing the life and legacy of the great Zora Neale Hurston

This event is part of the British Library’s exhibition ‘Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women's Rights’, which explores how feminist activism in the UK has its roots in the complex history of women’s rights. 

Dorothy Koomson interviews 
Salena Godden

Thank you Dorothy!

Read the full piece here

The Girl and the Goddess is a mesmerising poetic tale 

of where we come from, how we grow 

and how we become who we are... out soon!!


Author Nikita Gill writes about her six favourite poets
Dean Atta, Sophia Thakur, Shivanee Ramlochan,
Fatimah Asghar, Trista Mateer, Salena Godden

Read all about it here

Thank you to John Lee Bird

I'm honoured to own an amazing original test print and latest book 

I love this so much and will treasure it forever

My pictures don't do this work justice...

Please visit John's website and check out this latest work


Coming up: Amah-Rose and Matt and I are preparing to record the 10th episode of Roaring 20's Radio and this show will be broadcast LIVE on air on Soho Radio on Saturday September 26th 2020. This will be our first time back in the actual Soho Radio studio since winter and we have a very special show lined up! More about that later, follow us on twitter and insta for news... Thank you to everybody that has been tuning in so far and throughout lockdown. Find our latest shows as podcasts in all of the usual places via

Thank you for the first reviews and tweets..
Published by Canongate: January 28th 2021
Debut novel now available to pre-order 
Read books! Stay safe! Stay sound!

Friday, 28 August 2020

Poem: 'Dog Days Done' + Fundraiser for Beirut

Dog Days Done 

Now is that moment

the first time you notice 

summer lift her skirt 

revealing a turn of 

amber leaf and yellow 

summer takes her time 

to pack her belongings

weary butterflies 

thirsty bees

and somewhere 

in a distant field

summer writes 

goodbye letters in gold 

on hay and corn 

and chestnut 

and you 

the morning after 

the thunder storm

you open the window 

and smell it changed

wafts of old grass

and late summer

this end is a beginning 

make hay, make time

bilberries and blackberries

a feast for the sparrows

dog days done 

Sirius goes south

the last burst of roses

for a lughnassadh table

the tomato harvest

the fruits of August 

red, ripe and colourful 

in Septembers hands

feeding our autumn

and all tomorrows hopes

(c) Salena Godden / London / 2020

*photos from my yard, tomatoes, rainy sunflower, rose, lavender and flowering mint


Dipped in Song

An evening of poetry in solidarity with and fundraising for Beirut 

Sunday 30 August 2020 – 5.30PM (UK) / 7.30PM (Beirut)  

Out-Spoken Press, together with Lisa Luxx, present Dipped in Song, an evening of poetry in solidarity with and to raise funds for relief efforts in Beirut following the devastating explosion earlier this month.

The event will be a ticketed Zoom, hosted by Joelle Taylor and will feature readings by, and conversation with, Lebanese poets and those connected to Beirut, as well as from other poets who stand in support and solidarity.

Featuring readings by Zeina Hashem Beck, Vahni Capildeo, Caroline Bird, Hala Alyan, Riwa Saab, Salena Godden, Raymond Antrobus, Lisa Luxx, Rewa Zeinati, Richard Georges & Anthony Anaxagorou

please donate 

& join us

People's History Museum, Manchester 

opens it's doors again on September 1st 2020

Look up and look out for the yellow . . .  

My poem #PessimismisforLightweights lives there on permanent display

You'll find signed books and posters in the museum shop too

Register to visit the museum:

Have you seen these juicy Nymphs and Thugs bundles? 

You get the 2LP gatefold LIVEwire vinyl 

plus the full-colour LIVEwire poetry zine 

and the ‘Live at Byline Festival EP’ CD too!

ALL for just £21 + P&P 

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

August recommended listens: Ep. 9 Roaring 20s Radio + Influx Podcast + The History of the N word

Roaring 20s Radio

Episode 9

This sizzling HOT August 2020 show 

features outstanding new work by:

Murray Lachlan Young @MurrayLYoung  new album out this month!

Irensonsen Okojie @IrenosenOkojie award winning author reads from 'Nudibranch'

Will Ashon @willashon reading from new novellette out with Open Pen.

Hafsah Bashir @Hafsah_A_Bashir with poetry to soothe the soul

Grace Savage @_GraceSavage +  Jade Anouka @JadeAnouka 

John Osbourne @JohnOsRadioHead an excerpt of his latest work

Katus @katuscz performing from her latest album

+ plus a live and up close interview with 
British artist and painter Kelly-Anne Davitt

check out her stunning work 


+ plus a feature on the pioneers of Black British poetry
and our monthly picks of this summers art and culture 

Thank you to everybody that has been tuning in so far!
Find our podcast in all of the usual places via

Roaring 20s Radio
The new show for the 2020s: 
art, culture, books, poetry and activism 

Ep.10 will be broadcast 
Saturday 26th September, 4-6pm

The Poetry Health Service
a project inspired by the miracle of love, human connection and the healing power of poetry - Founded by poet, playwright and performer Hafsah Aneela Bashir, the Poetry Health Service (PHS), is a brand new, free creative service that prescribes contemporary poems as a tool for connection and healing. PHS embodies and champions the importance of art in supporting our mental and emotional health. Featuring work from Roger Robinson, Theresa Lola, Salena Godden, Buddy Wakefield, Helen Mort and many more, text poetry to 07401 257 351

Excited to contribute a story to Series 3 

One Take Wonders

Authors read one of their short stories in one go, 

no edits, no re-runs. Curated by Courttia Newland.

My piece is titled 'Harpers Daydream'

Check out this series on Podbean or iTunes

And while we are talking about radio listens...
Highly recommend this documentary

With all that has been happening...
it might be useful to reflect on that words origin

BBC R4 doc, produced by Colin Grant 
and presented by Ellah Allfrey, 
with Bernadine Evaristo, Raymond Antrobus, 
Salena Godden, Gabriel Gbadamosi, 
Viv Adams & Ghetts & more...

"old souls sailed

my heart is a boat

my ancestors longships

my grandmothers Windrush

the rubber dinghies sunk without trace"

'No Holds Barred'

is a limited edition print, suitable for framing,  

published by Tangerine Press and out now

Tangerine Press 


Last but not least...
On Thursday August 13th 
I'm in conversation with Heidi James 
launching her powerful and vivid and visceral 
new novel 'The Sound Mirror'

You can also hear Heidi James 
reading from this beautiful book in 
Ep.8 of Roaring 20s Radio show!

Thank you xxsg

some ways to help or to get help...

1.  Covid funding for writers and poets list: 

2. Comprehensive list to help BLM: HERE

3. Fight for Breonna Taylor HERE

4. Refugee Community Kitchen serving food at home and abroad:

5. Find your nearest foodbank, help or donate:

6. Grenfell: Fundraiser by UK Cladding Group HERE

7. Beirut emergency appeal here