New Release Books by Jackie Kay

Jackie Kay is the author of Bessie Smith (2021), Red Dust Road (2019), The Women Writers Handbook 2020 (2020), Refugee Tales: Volume II (2017) and other 78 books.

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Bessie Smith

release date: Sep 28, 2021
Bessie Smith
A beautiful genre-bending tribute to the larger-than-life blues singer Bessie Smith. Scotland’s National Poet blends poetry, prose, fiction, and nonfiction to create an entirely unique biography of the Empress of the Blues. There has never been anyone else like Bessie Smith. Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1894 and orphaned by the age of nine, Bessie Smith sang on street corners before becoming a big name in traveling shows. In 1923, she made her first recording for the newly founded Columbia Records. It sold 780,000 copies and catapulted her to fame. Known for her unmatched vocal talent, her timeless and personal blues narratives, her tough persona, and her ability to enrapture audiences with her raw voice, the Empress of the Blues remains a force and an enigma. In this remarkable book, Kay combines history and personal narrative, poetry and prose to create an enthralling account of an extraordinary life, and to capture the soul of the woman she first identified with as a young Black girl growing up in Glasgow. Powerful and moving, Bessie Smith is at once a vivid biography of a central figure in American music history and a personal story about one woman’s search for recognition. A VINTAGE ORIGINAL.

Red Dust Road

release date: Aug 10, 2019
Red Dust Road
Growing up in 70s Scotland as the adopted mixed raced child of a Communist couple, young Jackie blossoms into an outspoken, talented poet. Then she decides to find her birth parents... Based on the soul-searching memoir by Scots Makar Jackie Kay, Red Dust Road takes you on a journey from Nairn to Lagos, full of heart, humour and deep emotions. Discover how we are shaped by the folk songs we hear as much as by the cells in our bodies.

The Women Writers Handbook 2020

release date: Jun 16, 2020
The Women Writers Handbook 2020
A revised edition of the publisher’s inaugural publication in 1990, which won the Pandora Award from Women-in-Publishing. Inspirational in its original format, this new edition features poems, stories, essays and interviews with 30 + women writers, both emerging authors and luminaries of contemporary literature such as: – Choices: The Writing of Possession by A.S. Byatt – Becoming a Writer by Saskia Calliste – Jenny – a song by April de Angelis – Interview with Kit de Waal – Anne Hathaway by Carol Ann Duffy – Let the World Burn through you by Sian Evans – Early Women Writers by Philippa Gregory – The Creative Process by Mary Hamer – The Writing Life by Jackie Kay – Screen Diversity by Shuchi Kothari – Writing Plays by Bryony Lavery – The Novelist as Wanderer by Annee Lawrence – Interview with Roseanne Liang – Mei Kwei, I love you by Suchen Christine Lim – The Badminton Court by Jaki McCarrick – Interview with Laura Miles – The Motherload by Raman Mundair – The Feminist Library by Magda Oldziejewska – Fortune Favours The Brave... by Kaite O’Reilly – Interview with Jacqueline Pepall – The Art of Translation by Gabi Reigh – Conditions of Amefricanity -Djamila Ribeiro – Inspiration: Where does it come from? by Fiona Rintoul – Interview with Jasvinder Sanghera – A Room of One’s Own ...or Not? by Anne Sebba – Being a Feminist Writer by Kalista Sy – Mslexia by Debbie Taylor – My Mother, Reading a Novel by Madeleine Thien – Interview with Clare Tomalin – Fortune by Ida Vitale, transl. Tanya Huntington – Interview with Sarah Waters – Virginia Woolf...100 years on by Emma Woolf Includes the original writing workshops plus illustrations from contemporary and vintage illustrators. Guest editor Ann Sandham has compiled the new collection. Reviews: The Women Writers Handbook is a superb, powerful collection of writings from 30 women that are considered to be the emerging authors and luminaries of contemporary fiction, from Carol Ann Duffy to Kit De Waal. With its short chapters, background to who the author is and with 20% of all profits going towards the campaign for a full-sized statue of Virginia Woolf, the first in the UK, it is absolutely a book to buy, read and help to highlight the creativities of women, as well as inspiring other women to believe that they can also do it too. Not only is every piece of work that is included different, well written and informative but the way that the whole book is laid out with inspiring quotes but also beautiful illustrations from women. I loved the activities that can be found at the end of the book, writing workshop activities that could be used within a group in order to breakdown boundaries, to help overcome the fears and misgivings of individuals who would like to become writers, as well as activities to help create depth in characters. I think this inclusion of interactivity, as well as giving a feminist spin on fairy tales is a cleverly unique concept. ...its absolutely one to pick up and for a worthy cause too. --thereadingcloset Knowledgeably compiled and deftly edited, 'The Women Writers Handbook'; by Ann Sandham (Commissioning Editor for Ladybird Children's Books at Penguin Random House) also features an informative Foreword by Cheryl Robson (the Aurora Metro Books publisher). Of special note is the inclusion of a instruction article on how to operate a writing workshop, a five page Resource Directory (compiled by Saskia Calliste), and a fun one-page Quiz. Informative, thought-provoking, inspiring, 'The Women Writers Handbook'; is an extraordinary, unique, and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in both organization and presentation. Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Writing/Publishing collections in general, 'The Women Writers Handbook'; is unreservedly recommended for Women's Fiction, Literature, and Writing supplemental curriculum reading lists in particular. --Midwest Book Review As a young woman both studying literature and harbouring dreams of becoming a writer myself, it seems to me that the world of writers is a great looming circle of male literary greats. Dickens, Wilde, Shakespeare, Scott, Browning the list of the most respected literary figures seems both to be endless and decidedly full of men. The whole industry seems overwhelmingly male with merely a few select women being let into this strange world governed by men. Although I have felt very welcomed and my voice heard in my studies and critique of literature, there seems to be precious few ways for me to become a meaningful contributor to the discipline. That is why it is so important that a book like this exists, giving guidance like this, telling stories like these, and using women's voices to do so. Sandham offers a helping hand to all aspiring female writers to aid them in navigating their ventures into the literary world. The Handbook offers a space to women from all backgrounds to share their stories in my favourite segment: Women's Voices. One story that stood out to me most was told by Magda Oldziejewska in The Feminist Library. Oldziejewska recounts her experience of discovering the Feminist Library; an archive in London which exists to preserve the lives, works and memories of many women. I especially liked this piece as it shows that there does in fact exist a space for women to feel not only safe and welcomed, but actively valued in the literary world. A space where we can learn about the forgotten women who came before us and ensure that the great female powers of our time do not slip into the void of lost female writers. The importance of creating access points to the literary world for women is monumental and Sandham has so beautifully created another in her making of this Handbook. The later segments of the Handbook (Writing Workshops and Workshop Sessions) give an incredible level of insight into the more finnicky aspects of serious writing with guides on Developing Complex Characters to Self-censorship. The frank discussion provided throughout the workshop segments is an indispensable tool for any budding author looking to get real and seriously improve the quality of their writing. I would recommend The Women Writers' Handbook not only to women with explicit intentions to embark on their literary careers who need some support, but to anyone who seeks to better understand both the struggles and triumphs of women in the world of literature. --portobellobookblog What a fabulous source book - full of inspirational essays, short stories, poems and interviews with some top female writers - about the writing process, feminism and the experience of female authors, designed to get the juices flowing for any woman who has the hankering to write. If this was not enough to make you want to grab your note book and pen and embark on a writing project, then there are also writing exercises designed to stimulate the creative impulses and a directory of resources to help you on your way! And... quotes from some of the top women writers, both contemporary, and from history, are spread liberally throughout the publication, as encouragement. If I have not already persuaded you that you need a copy of this book to hand on the writing desk you are now surely going to purchase (should you not have one already), perhaps it will help if you know that 20% of the profits from the sale of this book will go towards the Virginia Woolf statue campaign! --Sue, Vine Voice Thrilled to get my hands on a copy of this updated version of The Women Writers’ Handbook, released to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Aurora Metro books. Edited by Ann Sandham, a fabulous collection of poems, stories and interviews from a diverse group of internationally acclaimed women. Also included are the workshops from the original edition of this anthology and there is a newly updated resources list. As well as being a good read with lovely black and white drawings dotted throughout, it’s a really useful book - one I know I will return to time and time again. In addition, 20% of each sale is being donated to the Virginia Woolf statue campaign to go towards funding a statue of the esteemed British writer - the author of pioneering essays on women’s writing and the politics of power, so this is very apt. --Daisy Hollands In aid of the Virginia Woolf Statue campaign at: www.aurorametro.org/virgini-woolf-statue

Refugee Tales: Volume II

release date: Jul 19, 2017
Refugee Tales: Volume II
Upon changing his religion, a young man is denounced as an apostate and flees his country hiding in the back of a freezer lorry… After years of travelling and losing almost everything – his country, his children, his wife, his farm – an Afghan man finds unexpected warmth and comfort in a stranger’s home... A student protester is forced to leave his homeland after a government crackdown, and spends the next 25 years in limbo, trapped in the UK asylum system... Modelled on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the second volume of Refugee Tales sets out to communicate the experiences of those who, having sought asylum in the UK, find themselves indefinitely detained. Here, poets and novelists create a space in which the stories of those who have been detained can be safely heard, a space in which hospitality is the prevailing discourse and listening becomes an act of welcome. All profits go to the Gatwick Detainee Welfare Group and Kent Help for Refugees.

Connections 500

release date: Apr 26, 2016
Connections 500
Drawing together the work of 12 leading playwrights, this National Theatre Connections anthology celebrates highlights from 21 years of the Connections festival with a retrospective selection of plays. Featuring work by some of the most prolific playwrights of the 20th and 21st centuries, and together in one volume, the anthology offers young performers between the ages of 13 and 19 an engaging selection of plays to perform, read or study. Each play has been specifically commissioned by the National Theatre's literary department over the years, with the young performer in mind. In 2016, these plays were then performed by approximately 500 schools and youth theatre companies across the UK and Ireland, in partnership with multiple professional partner regional theatres at which the works were showcased. The anthology contains all 12 of the play scripts; notes from the writer and director of each play, addressing the themes and ideas behind the play; and production notes and exercises for the drama groups. This year's anniversary anthology includes plays by Snoo Wilson, Gary Kemp and Guy Pratt; Simon Armitage; Jackie Kay; Patrick Marber; Mark Ravenhill; Bryony Lavery & Frantic Assembly; Davey Anderson; James Graham; Katori Hall; Carl Grose; Stacey Gregg; and Lucinda Coxon.

The Lamplighter

release date: Oct 13, 2020
The Lamplighter
The Lamplighter takes us on a journey through the dark heart of slavery. Produced both as a radio and stage play, it also reads as a stirring and a multi-layered poem. Four women and one man tell the story of their lives through slavery, from the the fort, to the slave ship, through the middle passage, following life on the plantations, charting the growth of the British city and the industrial revolution. The Lamplighter focuses on parts of history other books rarely touch upon, revealing the devastating human cost of slavery for individual people. Constance has had to witness the sale of her own child; Mary has been beaten to an inch of her life; Black Harriot has had to become a high class whore; and our lead, the Lamplighter was sold twice into slavery from the ports in Bristol. All four very different voices tell their story, in a rousing chorus that speaks to the experiences of all those oppressed by the slave trade, lifting in the end to a soaring and rally conclusion. Radical and widely acclaimed when it was first staged, this groundbreaking play from one of our most beloved poets and writers, Jackie Kay, remains as urgent and daring to this day.

Red, Cherry Red

release date: Sep 05, 2019
Red, Cherry Red
A powerful poetry collection full of the drama, musicality and lyricism that Jackie Kay is famed for. Exploring the themes of identity and age, this collection includes poems about the old days and the new days, and the places associated with an older generation, who often live dreamlike, isolated existences - not only geographically, but also in the memory. Nature and the elements play a big role too: trees, the moon, the sea, fire. Jackie Kay's style is one moment witty, the next melancholic, or gently surreal - and in this brilliant reissued collection, her poems are infused with warmth and colour: in particular, the colour RED.Perfect for fans of The Gift by Carol Ann Duffy and Rob Ryan, this gorgeous new gift edition is a must-have for any poetry fan.

The Methuen Drama Book of Plays by Black British Writers

release date: Nov 04, 2013
The Methuen Drama Book of Plays by Black British Writers
The Methuen Drama Book of Plays by Black British Writers provides an essential anthology of six of the key plays that have shaped the trajectory of British black theatre from the late-1970s to the present day. In doing so it charts the journey from specialist black theatre companies to the mainstream, including West End success, while providing a cultural and racial barometer for Britain during the last forty years. It opens with Mustapha Matura's 1979 play Welcome Home Jacko which in its depiction of a group of young unemployed West Indians was one of the first to explore issues of youth culture, identity and racial and cultural identification. Jackie Kay's Chiaroscuro examines debates about the politics of black, mixed race and lesbian identities in 1980s Britain, and from the 1990s Winsome Pinnock's Talking in Tongues engages with the politics of feminism to explore issues of black women's identity in Britian and Jamaica. From the first decade of the twenty-first century the three plays include Roy Williams' seminal pub-drama Sing Yer Hearts Out for the Lads, exploring racism and identity against the backdrop of the World Cup; Kwame Kwei-Armah's National Theatre play of 2004, Fix Up, about black cultural history and progress in modern Britain, and finally Bola Agbage's terrific 2007 debut, Gone Too Far!, which examines questions of identity and tensions between Africans and Caribbeans living in Britain. Edited by Lynnette Goddard, this important anthology provides an essential introduction to the last forty years of British black theatre.

Trumpet

release date: Jul 20, 2011
Trumpet
"Supremely humane.... Kay leaves us with a broad landscape of sweet tolerance and familial love." —The New York Times Book Review In her starkly beautiful and wholly unexpected tale, Jackie Kay delves into the most intimate workings of the human heart and mind and offers a triumphant tale of loving deception and lasting devotion. The death of legendary jazz trumpeter Joss Moody exposes an extraordinary secret, one that enrages his adopted son, Colman, leading him to collude with a tabloid journalist. Besieged by the press, his widow Millie flees to a remote Scottish village, where she seeks solace in memories of their marriage. The reminiscences of those who knew Joss Moody render a moving portrait of a shared life founded on an intricate lie, one that preserved a rare, unconditional love.

PICADOR SHOTS - 'Sonata'

release date: Mar 22, 2012
PICADOR SHOTS - 'Sonata'
In June, 2006, Picador launch Picador Shots, a new series of pocket-sized books priced at £1. The Shots aim to promote the short story as well as the work of some Picador's greatest authors. They will be contemporarily packaged but ultimately disposable books that are the ideal literary alternative to a magazine. Jackie Kay's 'Sonata' will be one of the first Picador Shots and comes from her new collection, WISH I WAS HERE. In 'Sonata', Two strangers meet on a train and connect in a way that one only can when you know that you only have a few hours together, and that anything you do or say will never be held against you. One is a good listener and one is a good talker – they are the perfect combination. One tells the other about her recent loss of love whilst the other watches on, falling, secretly, in love. What will become of them? Will this journey be the sum of their relationship?

Compagna. Testo inglese a fronte

release date: Jan 01, 2018

Bantam

release date: Oct 31, 2017
Bantam
Bantam brings three generations into sharp focus – Jackie Kay’s own, her father’s, and his own father’s – in a book that shows how the body holds its own story: how a shrapnel injury from the First World War can emerge years later; how we bear and absorb the loss of others; how we celebrate and welcome new life; how we how we embody our times, whether we want to or not. The poems collected in Bantam cross borders, from Rannoch Moor to the Somme, from Brexit to Bronte country. Who are we? Who might we want to be? These are poems that sing of what connects us and lament what divides us; poems that send daylight into the dark that threatens to overwhelm us – and could not be more necessary for the times in which we live.

Ten Poems of Kindness

release date: Apr 04, 2017

Somewhere

release date: Jan 01, 2012
Somewhere
Somewhere is the land of the imagination Somewhere is a world of fantasy and dreamscapes, the dark and beautiful legends of elsewhere. This anthology features writing from Roddy Doyle, Michel Faber, Jen Hadfield, J. A. Hopkin, Jackie Kay, Margo Lanagan, Alberto Manguel, Garth Nix, Gillian Philip, James Robertson, Robin Robertson, and Louise Welsh.

Reality, Reality

release date: May 10, 2012
Reality, Reality
The women of Reality, Reality are mesmerizing, whether in love or in solitude. Full of compassion, generosity, sorrow and joy, their fifteen unforgettable stories explore the power of the imagination to make things real, and celebrate, most of all, those who dare to dream.

Why Don't You Stop Talking

release date: Mar 22, 2012
Why Don't You Stop Talking
‘A stunner. I am heartbroken to have finished it’ Ali Smith In Jackie Kay’s first collection of stories, ordinary lives are transformed by secrets. Her world might seem familiar – sex, death and family cast long shadows – but the roles of mothers, daughters and lovers are imagined and revealed in the most surprising of ways. Sometimes it is the things that we choose to hide within ourselves which can transform us – and that has never been more true than in Jackie Kay’s warm, exuberant storytelling. She sees the extraordinary in everyday life, and lights it up with humour and generosity in a way that is uniquely her own. ‘If stories like these can still be written, the short story form must still be alive, not to say kicking’ Irish Times

Wish I Was Here

release date: Mar 22, 2012
Wish I Was Here
‘Kay gives hugely of her talent; pours it onto the page . . . These stories charm, move and entertain’ Guardian This fierce, funny and compassionate collection explores every facet of that most overwhelming and complicated of human emotions: love. With winning directness, Jackie Kay captures her characters’ greatest joy and greatest vulnerability, exposing the moments of tenderness, of shock, of bravery and stupidity that accompany the search for love, the discovery of love and, most of all, love’s loss. ‘Jackie Kay’s characters sing from the page’ Daily Telegraph ‘At the heart of it is a faith in stories themselves: a belief that the most desolate history can be lent coherence if you tell it right’ TLS ‘Kay’s humour and optimism are transcendent’ Sunday Herald

Fiere

release date: Nov 21, 2011
Fiere
Jackie Kay’s new collection is a lyric counterpart to her memoir, Red Dust Road, the extraordinary story of the search for her Nigerian and Highland birth-parents; but it is also a moving book in its own right, and a deep enquiry into all forms of human friendship. Fiere – Scots for ‘companion, friend, equal’ – is a vivid description of the many paths our lives take, and of how those journeys are made meaningful by our companions on the road: lovers, friends, parents, children, mentors – as well as all the remarkable and chance acquaintances we would not otherwise have made. Written with Kay’s trademark wit and flair, and infused with both Scots and Igbo speech, it is also a fascinating account of the formation of a self-identity – and the discovery of a tongue that best honours it. Musical and moving, funny and profound, Fiere is Jackie Kay’s most accomplished, assured and ambitious collection of poems to date.

Strawgirl

release date: Jan 01, 2003
Strawgirl
'How do you know my name?' Maybe asked Strawgirl. She was thrilled out of her tiny mind. The pleasure she felt was so intense, the roof of her head could have flown open and three beautiful birds soared out. Molly 'Maybe' MacPherson has always felt that she doesn't quite fit in. Her dad is from Nigeria, which makes Maybe different to everyone else in her Scottish farming community. If only she could forget about her embarassing roots. If only she could stop getting bullied. Then Maybe's father is killed in a car accident. Struggling with grief and loneliness, she must fight to keep the farm she loves. But a strange magic is at work, and when Maybe most needs a friend, her wish comes true in a way she could never imagined... 'An out of the ordinary tale of enchantment' Daily Telegraph

Life Mask

release date: Jan 01, 2005
Life Mask
Jackie Kay's new collection focuses on love, loss, and mistaken and secret identity. Her poems reveal how we hide from each other and from ourselves, how appearances are deceptive and how many faces it takes to make even the one self. Masks are our camouflage, our stealth and our security. In a celebration and a challenging of the masquerades we live every day of our lives, Life Mask peels back all the selves and goes closer to the bone.

From where it Hurts

release date: Jan 01, 2004
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