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'To the women in the margins, the footnotes, the runes.' – Rachel Bower

Poets Rachel Bower, Liz Berry and Nazneen Ahmed will take us on a journey of maternal tales from the birthing of kings and joining the community of modern-day mothers and midwives, to gratitude for the Covid-19 vaccination effort from an expectant mother. In a moment when society’s demands on mothers are sharply in focus, this event will explore the place, responsibilities and expectations of mothers throughout history – and how they come together to get through such times. Journalist and writer Saima Mir will host the event and lead the discussions.

With poetry and conversation, we’ll uncover the heirlooms and knowledge handed down through a timeless community from one generation of mothers to the next, and the importance of sharing stories of the past as part of becoming a mother today.


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Performer Biographies

Host: Saima Mir is an award-winning journalist and writer. She has written for The Guardian, The Times, The Independent and The Daily Telegraph, and worked for the BBC. Her work appeared in the anthology, It's Not About the Burqa in 2019, and The Best Most Awful Job in 2020.

Rachel Bower is an award-winning writer based in Sheffield. She is the author of Moon Milk (Valley Press) and Epistolarity and World Literature (Palgrave Macmillan). Her poetry has been published widely in journals and magazines, including Magma, The London Magazine, Frontier, New Welsh Reader and Stand. Rachel won The London Magazine Short Story Prize 2019/20 and the W&A Short Story Competition 2020. Her new poetry collection, These Mothers of Gods was be published in July 2021 (Fly on the Wall Press).

Rachel is on Twitter: @rachelebower

Liz Berry's first book of poems, Black Country (Chatto 2014), a ‘sooty, soaring hymn to her native West Midlands’ (Guardian) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, received a Somerset Maugham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Award and Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2014. Liz's pamphlet The Republic of Motherhood (Chatto, 2018) was a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice and the title poem won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem 2018. The Dereliction, a chapbook of her collaboration with artist Tom Hicks, will be published by Hercules Editions this autumn.

Liz Berry is on Twitter: @MissLizBerry

Nazneen Ahmed is a writer, historian and creative writing facilitator who lives in Southampton.

She writes fiction for children, creative non-fiction and poetry for adults, all of which are often inspired by the theme of migration, which was the topic of her work as an academic researcher and historian at University College London and the University of Oxford.

Nazneen is on Twitter: @Nazneen372

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