Join us in the Great Hall at Queen’s for the launch of Dawn Watson’s much anticipated collection, We Play Here (Granta Books). Dawn will read from the book for the first time and audience members will have the chance to buy a signed copy on the night.
We Play Here is a collection of four poem-stories, taking place in an underdeveloped area of Protestant north Belfast in the summer of 1988, against a backdrop of political turbulence during the Troubles. Written from the perspective of four female friends in the months between finishing primary school and starting high school, Watson paints an eerie, elemental landscape of normalised violence, poverty and neglect.
This is a graceful, lyrical and evocative rendering of history through the expansive and imaginative space of a working-class girlhood.
‘An extraordinary, enviably great debut. Watson has that rare ability to capture the ever-present strangeness of childhood and to use that to let us into a specific history with intellectual and imaginative generosity… a game-changing narrative long poem you’ll want to keep close’
– Luke Kennard
‘In We Play Here, Dawn Watson gives us a closely mapped, child’s-eye view of a North Belfast community in the mid-1980s, where everyday violence refracts along gender lines in a way little enough heard about. Watson’s sequences, in the voices of four twelve-year-old girls, record this broken world innocently, movingly and humorously – but, more than this, through their attention to beauty and wonder, they map these girls’ inner lives, where imagination and poetry itself survive’