Salena Godden: 'I’m a furious and emotional woman — when things pop up I have to talk’
The taboo-busting poet has written her first novel, Mrs Death Misses Death. She talks about missing performing and why Brits struggle to speak about her novel’s all too timely subject
The day after our interview, Salena Godden emails me first thing. She’s dreamily watching the snow, she says, and eating a huge Jamaican banana cake with rum in it, but she’s also kicking herself for forgetting to say something important. “I woke up thinking I’d hate the idea that I was in the Guardian and didn’t namecheck these good people,” she writes, above a list of books she’s excited about, by authors including Courttia Newland, Nikita Gill, Kathryn Williams and Irenosen Okojie. It’s typical that, just as she’s publishing her first novel, she wants to share the love with fellow authors. Godden has mentored writers for many years (including Nikesh Shukla, whose book Brown Baby was published a week after hers) and, having worked so hard for her share of the limelight, she really cares about paying it forward.
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