— It’s been a while since I last posted – life getting in the way of art/life.
Dissertation completed and now replete with an MA in Creative Writing, here I am, will be back posting at least twice a week (hopefully, if life/art/music don’t lob a spanner in my general and the muses do there thing).
An Unweeded Garden, a story of hope and redemption through bourgeoning black consciousness, is an extract from a postcolonial novel in progress set across three continents and three distinct periods within black history. It takes its title from Hamlet, ‘’Tis an unweeded garden that grows to seed’ (Shakespeare, 2008), and tackles the enduring effects of the slavery and empire on St. Vincent in the 1960s and twenty-first century Wales, through three linked murder mysteries. The recurring image of a branded anchor and dragon, and echoes of slavery lead Gwenllian Evans and Deiniol Roberts to explore their intertwined histories, servitude, and their mutual suspicions to uncover murderers past and present. When Gwenllian is found branded, raped, and murdered, Deiniol and Gwenllian’s best friend, Rhian, investigate an eighteenth century murder committed, allegedly, by slaves to reconcile the past and present.
An Unweeded Garden is an exploration of identity and self-expression when confronted with oppression in a state of overwhelming alienation. I reflect on the creative process and the forging of a new black consciousness through research, understanding, and exposition of truths unidentified or concealed. Key inspirations for the story were personal family narratives, my many years studying the slave trade, and the untold history of slavery and the Welsh. My fictional inspirations ranged from Zadie Smith’s White Teeth (2000) and Andrea Levy’s Small Island (2004) to the Harlem Renaissance novels, especially Chester Himes’s If He Hollers Let Him Go (1945). The prose of black intellectual writers like Eric Williams and CLR James were equally vital to the conception of An Unweeded Garden.