The keys to our collective survival in the midst of chaos are ‘Equity and access’, self-love, and facing our emotions head on. That silent inner strength we never knew we had, but should have been tapped into long ago.
Lisa Bent’s debut romance novel – Symona’s Still Single: The voice of ‘Thirty-Something’ Single Black Women
Released in October 2020, Self-love is at the forefront of this Black love story told from a Black person’s perspective of dating in your mid-thirties in London.
Beginning as a memoir compiled from blogs and Facebook posts, Lisa questions what it means to exist and be a Black woman looking for love in the UK.
Symona’s understanding of her identity, fears and beliefs runs throughout the book alongside her failed relationships, past trauma and powerful sisterhood.
Whilst taking a look at the psychological impact and inner self work needed to date as a Black woman, Lisa says: “Blindspots and repeating patterns exist in all our stories. Symona’s journey of reflection shows the power of self-exploration and agency. In turn, gently nudging you to look at yours.”
Equity, self-love, emotions
Spread the Word announces winners of the London Writers Awards 2021
Winners of The London Writers Awards have been announced for its 2021 cohort and they represent the ‘real and tangible inclusive change’ being carried out across the UK’s publishing sector.
The 30 selected finalists, who are writers of colour and working class, LGBTQIA+ plus disabled writers, will be going through a 10 month development programme before meeting up with agents and publishers and then moving forward with their writing careers.
Ruth Harrison, Director of Spread the Word said: “Equity and access are at the core of the London Writers Awards programme design. Being free does not make a programme equitable. The Awards are not only free at point of entry but also provide bursaries and an access fund to pay for, for example, travel expenses, laptop, data, scribe or interpreter.
“This combined with the mental health and self-care offer, one to one support and the alumni network gives each participant a holistic package of support and community to achieve their creative goals, making the Awards unique amongst the many diversity and inclusion initiatives currently taking place.”
The full list of London Writers Award winners is:
- Literary Fiction: Anne Elicaño-Shields, Ashani Lewis, Cecile Pin, Eleanor Penny, Gabrielle Johnson, Santanu Bhattacharya, Sharanya Murali, Shereen Akhtar, Sukh Brar, Thomas Newlands, Tommy Rowlands, Victoria Cano.
- Commercial Fiction: Emma Lowther, Megan Preston Elliott, Nilesha Chauvet, Rebecca Lewis, Rosemary Amadi, Tracey Weller.
- Narrative Non-Fiction: Carla Montemayor, Elizabeth Chan, Joyia Fitch, Lavendhri Arumugam, Sabrina Mahtani, Sadie Nott.
- YA/Children’s Fiction: Ahmed Wobi, Deshani Shan, Laura Leung-How, Paige Cowan-Hall, Remi Oshibanjo, Serena Rozana.
Equity, self-love, emotions
Broccoli Book Club’s latest podcast “What Have I Done”
Broccoli’s interactive newest podcast episode “What Have I Done” delves into Laura Dockrill’s powerful memoir, which highlights the award-winning author’s struggle with postpartum psychosis in a ‘raw and deeply personal account’.
Hosted by journalist Diyora Shadijanova, Diyora and her guests share their responses and reflections of this emotional and psychological rollercoaster through childbirth, mental health, parenthood and more.
“After a difficult year of living isolated lives and not socialising as much as we used to, it’s exciting to create a podcast that brings people together in a digital space. Books are a place of comfort, joy and learning. Not only is reading good for improving memory and empathy, but research also shows that they can make us feel more positive too. And positivity is what the whole world needs right now.
“I hope that Broccoli Book Club will offer people a chance to be part of a wider community, where we read critical and interesting texts which inspire us to think beyond our daily lives and in more open-minded ways.” – Diyora Shadijanova.
Images Copyright – Unsplash (Hana Hakkam) / Spread the Word / Jacaranda Books (Lisa Bent novel) / edited by I Am New Generation Magazine