Louisa is largely self-taught, and began writing whilst studying a Sociology degree 15 years ago. Louisa realised she had a lot to say about being dual-heritage and growing up in white communities, and that she had previously felt she didn’t have a ‘voice.’ She soon discovered that she did in fact have one (and it was very loud and sometimes never shuts up).
‘Louisa Adjoa Parker has an exceptionally distinctive voice – a confessional poet writing pieces that command attention. Her work is never self-aggrandising or projected anger, but a stark, pared down and beautifully controlled narration that uses powerful imagery and accessible, crafted language that communicates a sense of life in the raw.’
Louisa’s first poetry collection Salt-sweat and Tears was published by Cinnamon Press in 2007. Now in its second edition, this largely autobiographical collection explores the life of a mixed-heritage child, then woman, living in white rural England during the 70s, 80s, 90s and noughties.
‘The poems bounce off the page like diamonds - hard, bright and lethal. Louisa Adjoa Parker writes like a fire blazes…She writes as if she was born to it, brutal and cool; sparks fly. Her world is unignorable. It explodes in your face. She insists you listen. Her language is spot-on. She writes like a dream, but a dream that will not let you go; that's ruthless and painful and crystal clear…Nothing escapes her, but her heart is a heart of gold. She shares her pain with a lightness of touch that makes it all the more heart-breaking.’
In 2015 Louisa was one of four winners of the Cinnamon Press Pamphlet Competition, and her pamphlet Blinking in the Light was published as a result. The poems explore a traumatic year in Louisa’s life, and is set in Lyme Regis, where she lived for 18 years. Ian Gregson described the pamphlet as:
‘A collection of confessional poems which, in starkly telling a story about a fraught pregnancy and the suicide of a man very close to the speaker's family, evokes with powerful images and unadorned language a raw sense of contemporary life.’
Louisa has been commissioned to write poems for the theatre company, Tangle. Most recently she wrote Love is the Brightest Star for their touring performance Towards the Sun which explores themes of dreams, change, hope and love. Download the Towards the Sun discovery pack here.
‘Tangle is South West England's African Caribbean theatre company and we are thrilled to continue our association with Louisa on our 2016 touring work, TOWARDS THE SUN. Louisa is responsive, imaginative and exciting to work with and we are delighted to play a part in her continued development as a South West based writer from the diaspora.’
Anna Coombs, Tangle Director.
Louisa has recently completed her third poetry collection which she worked on with a mentor, Jan Fortune. She is currently seeking a publisher for this book, which explores themes she enjoys writing about - identity, ethnicity, place, home, loss, gender, parenthood and more.
Louisa began writing fiction more recently, and was proud to be included in Closure: Contemporary Black British Short Stories, named by the Guardian as one of the best books of 2015, and listed in BuzzFeed's ‘22 Brilliant New Books You Should Read.’ She has recently completed her first short story collection, Stay with me, with the help of her mentor Jacob Ross and is looking for a publisher.
'Louisa Adjoa Parker's fiction presents us with the real lives of real people caught up in powerful moments of crisis, trauma and self-revelation. This is the work of an enormously talented writer. I look forward to her emergence as one of the outstanding writers of her generation.'
Louisa’s stories tend to be about people on the edges of society, and she draws on her personal experience of belonging to marginalised groups to create her characters. Violence – both physical and psychological – seems to be a theme she often visits in her writing. Her poetry and prose also often focuses on place, reflecting the beautiful landscape of the West Country, contrasting this with the hidden deprivation that can occur in rural Britain.
‘I liked [Louisa’s] writing voice…it had an energy and a poetry and was a pleasure in itself…themes were perceptively treated and [she] had a feel for character.’
The Literary Consultancy.
Louisa’s writing has appeared in various publications including Alliterati; Under the Radar; Coffee-House Poetry; Ouroboros; Envoi, Wasafiri; Peony Moon; Out of Bounds (Bloodaxe); Sometimes and Perhaps (Cinnamon Press); Ink, Sweat and Tears; Consequences; Kissing Frankenstein & other stories; Toasted Cheese; The Pygmy Giant; PennyShorts; The Forward Book of Poetry 2008; Fresh Ink: New Light; And Other Poems; Amaryllis; Closure (Peepal Tree Press); To Kingdom Come (Onslaught Press) and Bare Fiction.