Rebecca Perry and Mona Arshi: Growing Pains

Date: 17/10/23
Speakers: Mona Arshi, Rebecca Perry

Poets Rebecca Perry and Mona Arshi both turned to prose for their most recent books, without letting go of poetry’s fragments, concision and silence. Both books explore childhood and the ways in which children see the world differently, even as they have to grow up.

On Trampolining by Rebecca Perry revisits her childhood to weave arresting tales on pain, expectation, flight and grief in relation to competitive sport, memory and the body.

Recounted in short, poetic vignettes Somebody Loves You by Mona Arshi is non-linear coming of age novel in the voice of our young protagonist, Ruby, unfolding at the very same time she decides to stop talking.

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Mona Arshi was born in West London, where she still lives. She worked as a human-rights lawyer for a decade before receiving an MA in creative writing from UEA. Her debut poetry collection Small Hands was published in 2015, winning the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, and her work has since appeared in The Sunday Times, The Guardian and The Times of India, as well as in the Poems on the Underground series. Her debut novel Somebody Loves You was published by And Other Stories in 2021. Mona Arshi is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4.

Rebecca Perry was born in 1986 in London. Her first book-length collection, Beauty/Beauty (Bloodaxe Books, 2015), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, won the Michael Murphy Memorial Prize 2017, and was also shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize for First Full Collection. Her second book-length collection, Stone Fruit, also a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, was published by Bloodaxe in 2021.

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