This summer, flipped eye is publishing three poetry collections by some the most exciting voices in the international poetry landscape – Eleanor Penny, Louisa Adjoa Parker and Maia Elsner – as well as a breath-taking theatrical play by Gabriel Gbadamosi reframing Britain’s role in the abolition of slavery. In addition we are launching a new flagship non-fiction imprint phipl, with a collection of essays by International Dublin Literary Award-winning José Eduardo Agualusa.
Top L-R: Louisa Adjoa Parker, José Eduardo Agualusa, Gabriel Gbadamosi, Eleanor Penny, Maia Elsner
Paradise and Other Hells by José Eduardo Agualusa
Inaugurating flipped eye’s new non-fiction imprint phipl, Paradise and Other Hells is an irreverent, intelligent and near impish essay collection by José Eduardo Agualusa, fizzing with his trademark humour and proboscis-sharp observation (out on 10th June).
Translated from Portuguese by a team of some of the finest contemporary translators — Rahul Bery (David Trueba’s Rolling Fields), Andrew McDougall, Robin Patterson (Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis’s Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas), Francisco Vilhena (Adelaide Ivanova’s the hammer and other poems) and José Eduardo’s longtime translator, Daniel Hahn, OBE — these musings cast an eye on a wealth of topics: a mugging foiled by laughter; the power of a gesture; the world’s oldest tree; Bob Dylan; “Africa’s estrangement from itself”; aspects of Rio, Lisbon, Luanda, Berlin.
Written with a convivial spirit, reading this book is akin to sitting next to a sparkling companion at a memorable dinner party, where the meal is secondary to the warm, erudite conversation. Paradise and Other Hells is José Eduardo Agualusa as you’ve never read him before.
Abolition by Gabriel Gbadamosi
A theatre play reframing Britain’s role in the abolition of slavery, Abolition by Gabriel Gbadamosi (out 17th June) continues to be relevant years after its first staging at Bristol’s New Vic in the 1980s.
Set in the year 1792, the play follows the journey of The Blackamoor Jenny out of Liverpool, through its sixth “African voyage”. Meanwhile, in the ship of state, the radical abolitionist William Fox and William Wilberforce – more timid than history has remembered him – vigorously debate the urgency of ending the trade in damned souls. “Shakespeare’s Tempest meets S. I. Martin’s Incomparable World”, Abolition is a black Englishman’s vision of the English slave trade. It is a vision of a divided nation facing the storms of its own history.
Nigel Leask, Regius Chair of English Language and Literature at Glasgow University said about Abolition: “A powerful play that immerses the reader in the historical iniquities of transatlantic slavery without losing dramatic pace and movement. The setting, the politics and especially the language are utterly convincing.”
She Can Still Sing by Louisa Adjoa Parker
Louisa Adjoa Parker has been commended by the National Poetry Competition – and twice been shortlisted by the Bridport Prize. Written while Louisa grieved the loss of a friend who took her life after a long struggle with mental illness, She Can Still Sing (17th June) is a eulogy that projects from light. One part love letter to the mundane, three parts hymn to the departed, four parts ride of wonderment, these poems celebrate the bonds of friendship and family even as they leave love notes to the departed stuffed into surprising images.
Louisa’s connection to the environment is evident in nods to water and the earth’s many-coloured bounty of flora – and, right through the pamphlet, there is a clear sense of the passage of time and its maintenance of the natural order of things, the cycle of life. Where there is grief, there is joy, and to lose sight of that might make of one “beating crimson wings/ against the glass of a window which can never/ be opened”.
The official launch event for Louisa’s collection will be a virtual bookshop event organised with Bookbag Bookshop in Exeter, in partnership with Africa Writes, on Thursday 17th June.
Mercy by Eleanor Penny
Eleanor Penny is one of the rising stars in the UK’s poetry panorama – she has been nominated for the Forward Prize for Poetry and twice shortlisted for Young People’s Poet Laureate for London. Eleanor is the founder of the poetry podcast Bedtime Stories for the End of the World, asking some of the UK’s top poets to re-imagine their favourite myths, fairytales and legends – the stories they want to seal up and protect against rising waters, from nuclear disaster, and from the mundane tragedy of human forgetfulness.
Her début collection Mercy (out on 24th June) is interested in cosmologies of cruelty, love and obsession, of how familial and community memory warps and blooms over time. It’s about mother dogs, small gods, pig hearts, pop stars and cannibals.
Overrun by Wild Boars by Maia Elsner
A precocious and arresting début that brims with inquisitive energy and sharp insight, Overrun by Wild Boars by Maia Elsner (out 15 July) is a search for intimacy and survival in the face of persecution and trauma. Inspired by Maia’s stunningly intricate family history that embraces and brings together two faiths, multiple languages, as well as Polish and Mexican mythologies and rich histories, it traces a journey of resilience that runs from ancient Rome via medieval Cairo, Poland in the 30s and Berlin in the 90s to modern London, Mexico City and the streets of New York.
Formally daring and subversively inventive with language, Overrun by Wild Boars attempts to grasp what is precious, what is worth clinging on to. The collection cements Maia Elsner as a stunning new voice.
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