Poet, writer and LGBTQi activist Yrsa Daley-Ward is in Birmingham next week to discuss her latest book ‘The Terrible’.

Of mixed West Indian and West African heritage and born to a Jamaican mother and a Nigerian father, Yrsa was raised by her devout Seventh Day Adventist grandparents in the small English town of Chorley.

Yrsa Daley-Ward is bringing her latest UK book tour to Birmingham next weekMike Kobal / Penguin Books
Yrsa Daley-Ward is bringing her latest UK book tour to Birmingham next week

From an explosive new literary talent, her book The Terrible is a dark, poetic memoir about terrible things that happen and terrible things that turn out well; exploring Yrsa’s childhood and teenage years in a tale of girlhood, femininity, family secrets, addiction, sexuality, dangerous transactions and – most of all – hope.

This is the story of Yrsa Daley-Ward. A poet, writer and LGBT activist of Jamaican and Nigerian heritage, Yrsa was brought up in Chorley in the northwest of England.

It’s about her childhood with her beautiful, careworn mother Marcia, Linford (the man formerly known as Dad, ‘half-fun, half-frightening’) and her little brother Roo, who sees things written in the stars. It’s about growing up and discovering the power and fear of her own sexuality, of pitch grey days of pills and powder and encounters. It’s about damage and pain, but also joy.

Told with raw intensity, shocking honesty and the poetry of the darkest of fairy tales, The Terrible is a memoir of going under, losing yourself, and finding your voice.

Her memoir details life growing up as one of the only black faces in a poor white town, with a struggling single mother who worked nights and devout Seventh Day Adventist grandparents.

Half coming of age, half adult story, The Terrible is about growing up and discovering the power and fear of sexuality, about pitch-grey days of pills and powder: going under, losing yourself, and finding your voice.

Yrsa Daley-Ward uses poetry to explore identityPenguin Books
Yrsa Daley-Ward uses poetry to explore identity

Yrsa, who now splits her time between London and New York, will be talking about her work and will also be reading from her fabulous collection bone, at a special intimate event at the Impact Hub Birmingham in Digbeth, as part of her national book tour.

If you’re familiar with work of Rupi Kaur, you will love Yrsa’s work as she – along with Nayyirah Waheed – were the first PoC to write in the style that is so loved today! Here’s an extract from Ysra’s work:

“You will come away bruised.
You will come away bruised
but this will give you poetry.”

“The pastor makes twenty-four
references to hell
in the sermon at church and forgets
to talk about love.”

“It’s never too late to be wise.
See how your spirit has been
fermenting.”

“Truth is a beauty, whether pretty or not.
Love doesn’t always mean you should stay.
Sometimes the truth has to punch you, twice.
Love doesn’t always mean you should stay.”

Yrsa Daley-Ward will be discussing her book The Terrible at the Impact Hub Birmingham on Wednesday 30 May from 7pm. Tickets for Impact Hub Birmingham members are free and  £5 for non members. You can book your ticket here via Eventbrite.

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