Hannah Lowe’s LONG TIME NO SEE, published in the UK by Periscope, will be BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week next week. The first episode will be broadcast at 09.45 a.m. on Monday 27 July and the last episode will go out on Friday. An accomplished poet and performer, Hannah Lowe will be reading her own work.
Hannah’s memoir was listed for Guardian Hottest Caribbean Reads and picked as an Observer Holiday Read 2015. Poet Malika Booker called it ‘heartbreakingly tender, poignant and honest’ and Kerry Young, author of PAO and GLORIA said the following: ‘Sometimes we don’t cherish what we have until it’s gone. Such is the case with Hannah Lowe’s beautifully woven tale of father and daughter – a half-remembered, half-imagined reminder that our stories begin long before we are born, and never end.’
Hannah was chosen for the Poetry Book Society’s Next Generation Poets List 2014. Her debut poetry collection, CHICK (Bloodaxe, 2013), also about her father, was called ‘outstanding, unputdownable’ by John Glenday, and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, The Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for Poetry 2014 and most recently the Michael Murphy Award. Penelope Shuttle described her as ‘as a poet with a commanding style; her voice is entirely her own, both rich and laconic’ – a voice that comes through in her moving memoir too.
Hannah’s father, Chick, a half-Chinese, half-black Jamaican immigrant, worked long hours at night to support his family – except Chick was no ordinary working man. A legendary gambler, he would vanish into the shadows of East London to win at cards or dice, returning during the daylight hours to greet the daughter whose love and respect he courted.
In this memoir, Hannah calls forth the unstable world of card sharps, confidence men and small-time criminals that eventually took its toll on Chick. She evokes her father’s Jamaica, where he learned his formidable skills, and her own coming of age in a changing Britain. LONG TIME NO SEE speaks eloquently of love and its absence, regret and compassion, and the struggle to know oneself.