Dawn Watson We Play Here


Code 9781915051066
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Four female friends navigate the political turbulence of North Belfast in the late 80s in this extraordinary, evocative verse novel. 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 childhood, and a radical approach to girlhood and girl-friendships,in the years before the trappings of gender make themselves strongly known.

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'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. There is taut, lyrical focus on every page, but overall, a game-changing narrative long poem you'll want to keep close.'
- Luke Kennard

'A unique new voice in poetry who reminds us that what some people call history, others might call memory; and what some might deem a city, others might insist is actually the individual topography of their childhood'
- Andrew McMillan

'Dawn Watson gives us a closely-mapped, child's-eye-view of a North Belfast community in the mid-1980s. Watson's sequences, in the voices of four 12-year-old girls, record this broken world innocently, movingly and often humorously - but, more than this, through their attention to beauty and wonder, they map these girls' inner lives, where imagination and poetry itself survive.'
- Leontia Flynn


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