Here's the new cover for my first short collection of poems, 'Five-Penny Rhymes'; hope you like it! You can pre-order 'Five-Penny Rhymes' from Amazon Kindle soon, and it will be released on Amazon Kindle only on 18 October, which is very exciting!
The race-related US protests in Charlottesville and online, and Munroe Bergdorf and the hysterical reaction to her words, affected me more deeply than I imagined, because there was so much hate and anger swirling around what was actually a great, balmy summer where the weather was more pleasant than it had been for a while. I honestly felt that what I was reading did not reflect my reality. Ethnically, I am Chinese, and very visibly so, but culturally, I am a mix of British and Chinese and more; I know who I am, and I have never had any confusion over my identity, or yearned to be anything else apart from me. Reading 'Go Set a Watchman' by Harper Lee further convinced me that as a British-born Chinese woman in Britain, I have a duty to the people of all hues and backgrounds who I grew up with, and who I continue to live with, to use the English language to tell of other ways of life. Britain has had bad press recently, much of which I do not think it deserves, and I am trying to help in my own little way.
I firmly believe that North American and US literature and US-influenced voices like Munroe Bergdorf's must not define non-US countries, especially Britain and British society. Although the US Constitution is based on English law, and the English language is the main and official language of the US, Americans are not Brits (there is too much to go into here), and I do think that everyday normal individuals in the UK treat each other better. The US is unofficially segregated by race and gender, but this is not the case in Britain, and I hope it remains that way.
Although inequalities do exist in British society (and I cover some of these in 'Five-Penny Rhymes'), I see others as individuals, and 'an individual' is how I am seen. Individuals who are male and not Chinese do not see me as a 'race' or 'the sum of femaleness', and I certainly do not see them as 'a race' or 'maleness'. Although institutional racism and sexism do exist, I have been lucky enough not to have been mentally scarred by these, although it might be that my avoidance of racist institutions in general has helped.
Mentioning my background in my writing previously made me uncomfortable because I see issues as 'me' but not as 'a Chinese' or 'a Brit' or 'a British-born Chinese' or even a 'woman', and this has carried through in 'Five-Penny Rhymes', but nevertheless, I think readers need to have some context to 'Five-Penny Rhymes', to know why I wrote it.
Readers, you should read 'Five-Penny Rhymes' and buy it because you like the rhymes or because you think it's GREAT :-), and please don't read it or buy it because you're curious about its author or even worse, being pro-whatever race!!
Here's the description on Amazon:
I tackle bits and bobs about growing up in modern Britain head-on in rhymes, each one a short story. There isn't much about pain, humour, or romance, I'm afraid, but in this, my amazing (if I may say so myself, as I have managed to write twenty rhymes) first collection of poems, this experiment which started out as a challenge to myself has resulted in some seriousness, a few whinges, and lots of rhyming couplets.
Look out for the release on 18th October!