four Brown Ladies Who Write: U.Ok. Asian Sisterhood Altering the Dynamics of Poetry

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four Brown Ladies Who Write are a bunch of sassy British Asian ladies who have lately made their mark on each the poetry world and on the planet of up and coming British Asian artists, serving to to form a vibrant, dynamic area during which neighborhood expression is taking over new meanings.  Having launched their first poetry assortment, and carried out to sold-out audiences on the Edinburgh Fringe, the world’s largest arts pageant in Scotland, with their collaborative present “The Poetry Phamily”, they’re now coming to London to make its second debut on 15th November. 

Brown Lady Journal lately caught up with members of the poetry collective to debate their inspiration and dealing collectively to create one thing new and natural. One of many founding members Sheena Patel tells us how she got here along with Roshni Goyate, Sharan Hunjan and Sunnah Khan to type 4BGWW. She describes how coming collectively felt pure, natural. Serious about the exploration and exhibition of vulnerability. Patel tells us,

We thought it is perhaps a superb vibe to get folks collectively to discover this concept, my ex-boyfriend cooked on a BBQ, we drank so much and skim to at least one one other. I’ve recognized Rosh and Sharan since uni however we had drifted aside, Sunnah was a buddy of a buddy however got here down as she was curious. On the evening we discovered we resonated with each other, began a Whatsapp group which I known as four BROWN GIRLS WHO WRITE and that’s it. We needed an area to be supportive and provides suggestions however we couldn’t have guessed what would occur because of that evening.

[Read Related: ‘We Need More Teachers of Colour in the Classroom’: in Conversation With Award-Winning British South Asian Poet Jaspreet Kaur]

For the 4 women, it’s the friendship and assist that’s on the centre. Patel referred to the women as “the most effective elements of my mind”. I requested what makes working collectively as a bunch totally different, and whether or not there was one thing subversive about working collectively. Her response was thought-provoking.

I assume it’s subversive as a result of we’re all the youngsters of former Conservative Prime Minister, the late Margaret Thatcher. Whether or not we prefer it or not – all of us hustle, self promote and we dwell in extraordinarily neoliberal occasions the place the Tories on this nation and the Republicans in America try to push for a extra excessive libertarian world and we’re in a hyper-capitalist economic system that values individuality above all else. But right here we’re flying within the face of that, to a level, by being a band in a manner, the racism that claims we’re all the identical by calling ourselves four BROWN GIRLS WHO WRITE and try to soften ego for an opportunity to heal collectively.


It’s a unique sort of problem, attempting to work collectively underneath strain on tasks which can be pricey to everybody within the group, like a guide, and their Edinburgh Fringe present “The Poetry Phamily.” Patel has described it as a studying course of, understanding the place to push the boundaries on points you care about however in the end working to guard the “delicate stability between the 4 of us.” Their entire vibe and lovely aesthetic are based on sisterhood and sharing. 

Once we prepare, one among us will put one thing on that may set a pattern for the others and we share make-up garments and jewelry. After I got here again in from being out in Edinburgh one time, I noticed Suns and Sharan had raided my suitcase as a result of they had been sporting my garments and Suns shouted ‘effectively you needed sisters!’


Patel describes the poetry writing course of as equally about sharing and giving. 

One will write about one thing and which will encourage one other – after we carry out we frequently echo that course of too, it’s what feels proper for the time being and trusting our instincts.

It’s not simply in regards to the poems themselves. The entire efficiency is a part of a system and technique of giving and receiving assist and love. Making a circle form that features the performers and the viewers is central to creating a sense of horizontality. Patel says, 

It makes for a stupendous vibe and I feel as human beings we reply to circles – it’s womb-like, a hug form, it’s elemental we now have had stone circles and burial pits in that form going again 1000’s of years. We’re all put in a pyramid system, the place we’re scrabbling to be on the high in competitors with each other however a circle instantly ranges off inequality and makes the expertise democratic.


Publishing a poetry assortment was a landmark second. After acting at FEM Zine’s launch in January 2018, the poets had been contacted about a chance to publish. The method was one among collaboration and brainstorming. Their inspiration for the guide got here from the Faber poetry books and Reni Eddo-Lodge’s ‘Why I’m No Longer Speaking to White Folks About Race.” The suggestions and responses to their work have been overwhelming. Patel recalled a number of the finest moments and reminiscences of the journey thus far,

The standing ovation on the Fringe was fairly wild and the guide launch final 12 months was a sense of unimaginable freedom, even days after. Nevertheless, it’s most likely the second I checked out their delicate faces on the boat and located artistic belonging. I at all times really feel half of a factor, and after we made 4BGWW I discovered a delicate place I might relaxation with sisters I’d at all times dreamt of getting. It nonetheless seems like we write for each other, they’re the folks I need to impress essentially the most.


[Read Related: Representing the Underrepresented: In Conversation with British South Asian Actress Seyan Sarvan]

This sense of artistic belonging actually stood out in our conversations, and it struck me what number of younger brown women battle in opposition to expectations to observe a vocational or science-based profession path, who don’t get the chance to observe their artistic drives and paths. I requested whether or not Patel had confronted such obstacles throughout the neighborhood, how she overcame them and what recommendation she would give to others with a artistic urge and a love for the humanities needing fulfilment. She defined how a revolt in her teenage years and twenties broken her relationship along with her households, however some years later, issues have healed. 

I knew what was proper for me and I fought for it. It was that or spiritually die and I selected my life. As for creativity – Write, write, write, write! All of us have day jobs so we match this round infants and lives and relationships but it surely’s necessary to us so we find time for it. Present up principally. All of us have one life so that you may as effectively do what’s true to you, no matter that appears like. Be delicate and courageous, be truthful. Write from the tough locations however remodel your trauma, that’s when it’s poetry.


If you happen to too are gutted to have missed the 4BGWW celebration in Edinburgh, you’ve bought an opportunity to redeem your self. The ladies are bringing the showdown to London to deliver much more folks into the circle. You possibly can catch four Brown Ladies Who Write in motion with the Poetry Phamily on 15th November in London, performing their sold-out Edinburgh Fringe present, adopted by an evening of extra spoken phrase, stand-up, dwell music and DJ units. Get your ticket right here.



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