UO Interviews: Yrsa Daley-Ward


We chatted with Yrsa Daley- Ward - renowned British writer and poet, to discuss her upcoming events at Space Ninety 8 and Space 15 Twenty. Yrsa shares her life experiences through her work and has become an influential creative, activist, and feminist. She shares her experiences with us in her latest book "Bone." Scroll down to read more.  

Hi There! Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do! 

Hello, my name is Yrsa Daley Ward - I am a storyteller, I write and perform, I have a book out currently called "Bone," and I'm working on my second book titled, "The terrible."  

How has your background in performing arts influenced your work? 

I think all kinds of performing arts are different versions of storytelling. If anything, it made me able to fuse them sometimes, which I think is always lovely. One really helps the other at times. My background in reading and literature helped me go on and want to be interested in telling of stories as an actor or as a songwriter. And, likewise, acting and the performing arts background makes me want to perform the poems and help them be interesting to listen to.  

Can you share more about the first piece you wrote, how young were you? 

I have been writing for as long as I can remember, so I'm not sure. However, I was encouraged by lovely teachers who helped me understand that writing was my way of speaking to the world.  Additionally, my mum taught me to read at a young age and gave me this wonderful gift of literature. By simply introducing me to stories, I took to writing straightaway. 

Did you feel like this was something that came naturally or did you stumble upon on it? 

It came naturally because I had a love for words, characters, interesting people, circumstances, human nature, love, and war; all the things that drive human beings.  

What are some of your favorite books? Any current favorites?  

I have lots of favorite books: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, James and the Giant Peach, The God of Small Things, Sexing the Cherry, Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson, By the Light of My Father's Smile and The Color Purple by Alice Walker. 

What has been some of your biggest inspirations within your work. 

I am inspired by everything that happens around me. I'm a curious person and introvert. I spend a lot of my time listening and watching those around me. Human nature is always inspirational because it's so wonderful. At the same time we share so many similarities, it's beautiful to absorb those around me. I'm inspired by new ways of painting, film, poetry and visual arts. 

How has your writing evolved from when you first started? 

I hope it's evolved! I always aim to write each piece truer than the last, which you know, means that I'm always writing from the heart. I hope that's how it's evolved. 

What's next for you? Are you working on any projects that your currently excited about? 

Yes! I'm excited about my next book entitled, "The Terrible." Due to release in the spring by Penguin. 

A word of advice for young writers?

I find it useful to wake up in the morning, fresh out of dreaming, and free write for ten minutes. It's an exercise free from judgement or editing that allows your creativity to flow. It allows me to draw from my inner thoughts and can inspire material I can actually use. It's important to write for yourself. Just do it, and don’t wait for anyone to tell you when to write. 

Lastly, what do you hope for people to take away from BONE? 

I hope it inspires others to tell their story. No two stories are ever the same, tell yours. 

Join us as we host Yrsa Daley-Ward in conversation with Glory Edim, founder of Well Read Black Girl on Thursday, October 12th from 7-9pm. More details HERE