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 background of political turbulence during the Troubles. Written from the perspectives of four female friends in the months between finishing primary school and starting high school, the girls inhabit an eerie, elemental landscape of normalised violence, poverty and neglect. This is a lyrical and graceful evocation of working-class girlhood that rings of Elena Ferrante’s studies of female friendships in the Neapolitan novels, Didier Eribon’s Returning to Reims, and Annie Ernaux’s The Years.
It is a radical approach to girlhood and girl-friendships, the kind of skewered space before an imposition of gender, or before the trappings of gender make themselves strongly known. Innocence is tinged here with a kind of hidden menace.
Pre-order your signed copy now in advance of publication on 3 August 2023.