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Manchester Literature Festival is thrilled to present an evening with Somali-British poet and writer Warsan Shire. 

Born in Nairobi and raised in London, Warsan was awarded the Brunel International African Poetry Prize and served as the first Young Poet Laureate of London. She has written two chapbooks, Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth and Her Blue Body, and wrote the poetry for the award-winning visual album Lemonade and the Disney film Black is King in collaboration with Beyoncé Knowles-Carter.

One of the most exciting poets of her generation, Warsan builds on the power of individual poems like ‘Home’ and ‘For Women Who Are Difficult to Love’ with her first full-length collection, Bless the Daughter Raised by A Voice in Her Head. Beautifully crafted and profoundly moving, it’s a collection that explores home and exile, migration and assimilation, faith and family alongside love, desire, trauma and womanhood. Join us to see Warsan discuss her work and perform some of her fierce and tender poems.

Hosted by Malika Booker. The founder of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen, Malika is a British poet and theatre-maker of Guyanese and Grenadian parentage. Her poetry collection Pepper Seed was shortlisted for the OCM Botas Prize and her poem The Little Miracles won the 2020 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem

Presented in partnership with Centre for New Writing, Creative Manchester and Waterstones Deansgate.

Copies of Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head will be available to collect before the event.


Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head is full of ferocious love and truth. It is not overstatement to say Warsan Shire writes the way Nina Simone sang.’ Terrance Hayes

‘With her first full-length poetry collection, Warsan Shire electrifies. Her poems capture young Black womanhood, what it means to search for home in the world, what it means to inhabit a woman’s body; the tensions of reconciliating faith and family and everything that threatens the borders of expectation and obligation. The beautifully crafted poems in this collection are fiercely tender gifts.’ Roxane Gay

About Manchester Literature Festival

One of the North West’s most innovative literary festivals, Manchester Literature Festival (MLF) specialises in showcasing and commissioning imaginative writing from fiction and poetry to secular sermons. A firm believer in the transformative power of words and stories, MLF’s annual Festival includes some of the most interesting voices in fiction, poetry, literature in translation, song-writing, activism and culture. MLFs’ Young People’s Steering Group sits alongside Manchester Literature Festival’s Board of Trustees and helps to ensure that MLF’s programming and artist development activities are relevant to and meet the needs of young people.


If you have any access needs you want to discuss with us, please call the box office Monday to Friday between 10 – 10pm on 0161 274 0600.

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Content Warnings

Sexual content, strong language, death, sexual violence and violence.

  • Price
    Ticket & a copy of Bless the Daughter Raised By a Voice in Her Head: £20 | Ticket: £10 | Under 35s: £8
  • Venue

    Contact, Oxford Rd, Manchester M15 6JA

  • Ages
  • Running
    70-75 mins | Book signing to take place 5-10 mins after the event finishes
  • Genre
Date Time & Place
Monday 14 March 8:00pm
Sold out

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