Salena Godden

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Salena Godden
Salena Godden byline.JPG
Background information
Occupation(s) Poet
Associated acts Coldcut

Salena Godden is a British poet, performer and author living in London. She went to school in Hastings and moved to London in the early 1990s. She wrote about this move in her 2014 memoir Springfield Road[1] She performed poetry for the first time in 1994, this is also described in detail in Springfield Road.[2]


In 2017 Godden was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award[3][4] for new work in poetry with her live spoken word album LIVEwire released with independent spoken word label Nymphs and Thugs. LIVEwire was released in four formats: CD, digital download, full-colour zine and double LP vinyl.[4][5]

Judges: Jo Bell, Bernard O’Donoghue and Kathryn Williams praised LIVEwire:

This album captures the best of a live presence – at turns moving, powerful and unflinching – which is hard for an award to recognise. It provides a gateway to poetry that is too easily dismissed as ‘spoken word’, but is an essential part of our poetry culture.

Her short-fiction Blue Cornflowers was shortlisted for the 2016 4th Estate and Guardian short story prize.[6] This piece was written as a response to women rights in Ireland and published in April 2017 in the Bare Lit Anthology (Brain Mill Press)[7]

Godden was shortlisted for 'Best Spoken Word Performer’ in the 2017 Saboteur awards.[8] Also in 2017 Salena Godden was shortlisted for the Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship.[9]

Her essay Shade was published in The Good Immigrant, This book was crowd-funded in record time and published with Unbound.[10] The Good Immigrant is a collection of 21 essays by 21 authors discussing what it means to them to tick other in 21st century Britain. It featured as a Radio 4 'Book of the Week' and won the Readers Choice Book Of The Year Award.[11] The Good Immigrant was shortlisted in the non-fiction category of The British Book Awards. The audio book and paperback of The Good Immigrant were released in May 2017.

The Good Immigrant was edited by Nikesh Shukla [12] and the 21 contributors include: Musa Okwonga (poet/broadcaster), Chimene Suleyman (poet/columnist), Vinay Patel (playwright), Bim Adewumni (Buzzfeed), Salena Godden (poet/writer), Sabrina Mahfouz (playwright), Kieran Yates (journalist), Coco Khan (journalist), Sarah Sahim (journalist), Reni Eddo Lodge (journalist), Varaidzo (student), Darren Chetty (teacher), Himesh Patel (Tamwar from Eastenders), Nish Kumar (comedian), Miss L from Casting Call Woe (actor), Daniel York Loh (playwright and actor), Vera Chok (actor/writer), Riz Ahmed (actor/rapper), Inua Ellams (poet/playwright) and Wei Ming Kam (writer).

Her work-in-progress Mrs Death Misses Death showcased at The Roundhouse, Last Word Festival in June 2017. This work is in development with music composed by Peter Coyte.[13] Peter Coyte and Salena Godden began collaborating in 1997.[14] They have made three albums: Saltpetre, Egg Yolk Planet Fried and Hungers The Best Sauce.[15][16]

Her short stories and poetry have also appeared in Dazed & Confused, Salzburg Review, Le Gun, Penguin's IC3, Canongate's Fire People, Serpent's Tail's Croatian Nights and Hodder & Stoughton's Oral. Godden recorded and performed in the ska-punk-breakbeat duo SaltPeter, with Peter Coyte. SaltPeter's album, Hunger's The Best Sauce was listed in The Independent on Sunday as one of the outstanding albums of 2007.[17]

Her Under The Pier poetry pamphlet was published by Nasty Little Press in 2011. Her work has appeared in Shortfire Press, The Dark Times, Illustrated Ape Magazine, Trespass Magazine, Paraphilia, Rising, Teller Magazine, The Mechanics' Institute Review published by Birkbeck University and Picador's Punk Fiction. Her poetry featured in the three latest anthologies from Tangerine Press entitled Dwang, hand-bound bespoke collections.

Godden hosted and produced regular live events, spoken-word salons and radio shows as SaltPetre (1997–2004) and The Book Club Boutique (2007–2011) "This is a place to discover new talent and seasoned writers." wrote ''Sophie Parkin in The Guardian, April 2009. [18] " 'The Book Club Boutique throws mock wedding" [19] "The Mae West Madam of the Salon" [20]

Salena Godden features regularly on BBC Radio programmes including, The Verb, Loose Ends, Bespoken Word and on Radio 4's Saturday Live. In summer 2011 her narrative play A Valentine at Waterloo was aired as part of the BBC's Verse Illustrated series.

In the autumn 2011 she participated in the Bush Theatre's 2011 project Sixty-Six, for which she wrote a piece based on a chapter of the King James Bible.[21]

For many years Godden has championed young poets and facilitated workshops for First Story, a charity created by author William Fiennes that aims to foster and nurture literacy and creative writing in secondary schools.

Fishing in The Aftermath / Poems 1994 - 2014, a collection of more than 80 poems, was published in July 2014 by Burning Eye Books. 'Springfield Road' is her literary memoir and it was successfully crowdfunded and published by Unbound on 1 October 2014. Springfield Road is set in Hastings.

She wrote and presented the BBC radio documentary Try A Little Tenderness – The Lost Legacy of Little Miss Cornshucks, originally aired throughout May 2014 on BBC Radio 4 and then broadcast on the BBC World Service in September 2014.


Salena Godden is known for the graphic power of her work and, over time, she has fostered a reputation as one of the foremost performance poets in the UK. She crowdfunded and published Springfield Road, a memoir of her childhood, with Unbound in 2014. In addition to this, she has released two poetry collections: Fishing In The Aftermath (Burning Eye Books, 2014) and Under The Pier (Nasty Little Press, 2011). Her essay ‘Shade’ featured in the 2016 anthology The Good Immigrant (Unbound) which won the 2016 Book of the Year’s Readers’ Choice Award. Her performance of her poem ‘Titanic’ was featured in the critically acclaimed BBC spoken word programme We Belong Here, and in 2017 her album LIVEwire was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for new work in poetry. A very active writer, and a dedicated mentor, Godden regularly advises and coaches poets who are new to the spoken-word scene, while also teaching writing in schools.

— Poetry International Web, July 2017[22]

Selected publishing: books and anthologies[edit]

Salena Godden books[edit]

  • 2018: Pessimism is for Lightweights - 13 pieces of courage and resistance - Rough Trade Books
  • 2017: LIVEwire - album and book - Nymphs and Thugs[4]
  • 2014: Springfield Road - a childhood memoir - Unbound Books
  • 2014: Fishing In The Aftermath Poems 1994-2014 - Burning Eye
  • 2011: Under The Pier - Nasty Little Press[23]

Poetry anthologies[edit]

  • 2016: Untitled Two - Neu Reekie - Polygon Books]
  • 2013: Bang Said The Gun - Burning Eye
  • 2012: Liminal Animal - Tongue Fu
  • 2011: Raconteur - Parthian Books
  • 2009: Dwang 1, 2 & 3 - Tangerine Press
  • 2006: The Salzberg Review - Salzberg Review
  • 2003: Velocity - Black Spring Press
  • 2000: IC3 - New Black Writing - Penguin
  • 1998: The Fire People - Payback Books / Canongate

Short fiction and essay anthologies[edit]

  • *2017: Bare Lit Anthology - Brain Mill Press
  • *2016: The Good Immigrant - Unbound Books
  • *2016: The Unreliable Guide to London - Influx Press
  • *2013: Connecting Nothing With Something - Influx Press
  • *2012: Too Much Too Young Anthology - Bookslam
  • *2011: Sixty-Six Books - Oberon Books
  • *2010: MIR Review 7 - Birkbeck University
  • *2009: Punk Fiction - Portico
  • *2006: The Decadent Handbook - Dedalus Books
  • *2005: Croatian Nights - Serpents Tail
  • *2004: Tell Tales - Tell Tales
  • *2001: Vox n Roll - Serpents Tail


  • 2017: Salena Godden / LIVEwire (live spoken word album) Nymphs and Thugs[4]
  • 2007: Salena Godden/ Promise Of Gold TwoFive, Apples & Snakes
  • 2007: SaltPeter/ Hunger’s The Best Sauce album, FRED Records
  • 2007: SaltPeter/ I’m Not Gay But… EP, FRED Records
  • 2006: SaltPeter/ Everybody Back To Mine EP, FRED Records
  • 2006: Coldcut/ DVD, Ninja Tune Records
  • 2005: SaltPeter/ SaltPervert EP, Saltpetre Records:
  • 2005: Alabama 3 feat Salena Saliva/Boots, One Little Indian
  • 2004: Going Down Swinging/ compilation/Australia, GDS
  • 2003: SaltPervert/5AM/single re-mix, OXYD Records.
  • 2003: Gargoyle Spoken Word CD/ compilation/USA, Gargoyle
  • 2003: Perfecto Presents…Seb Fontaine/ compilation, Perfecto
  • 2003: Flat Pack Antenna/ Resonance FM compilation, Resonance FM
  • 2000: SS&PC/ Egg Yolk Planet Fried debut album, Saltpetre Records
  • 1999: Saltpetre CD/Volume One, Saltpetre Records
  • 1999: Coldcut/Let Us Replay/ Virginia Epitome, Ninja Tune Records (credited as Salena Saliva)
  • 1997: Coldcut/Let Us Play/ Noah’s Toilet, Ninja Tune Records (credited as Salena Saliva)


  1. ^ "Springfield Road by Salena Godden". Unbound. Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  2. ^ "Fishing in the Aftermath - Poems 1994–2014 by Salena Godden". Retrieved 29 June 2017. 
  3. ^ Ted Hughes Award – The Poetry Society
  4. ^ a b c d "Nymphs & Thugs - Independent spoken word record label". Nymphs & Thugs - Independent spoken word record label. Retrieved 29 June 2017. 
  5. ^ Child, Lee (9 March 2017). "New poets hailed on Ted Hughes Award shortlist". The Bookseller. Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 November 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2017. 
  7. ^ "Salena Godden - Brain Mill Press". Retrieved 29 June 2017. 
  8. ^ Editor (3 April 2017). "Saboteur Awards 2017 – The Shortlist and Longlist". Retrieved 29 June 2017. 
  9. ^ "Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowships - Jerwood Charitable Foundation". Retrieved 29 June 2017. 
  10. ^ "The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla". Unbound. Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  11. ^ "The Good Immigrant crowned Britain's favourite book of 2016". The Bookseller. Retrieved 29 June 2017. 
  12. ^ "The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla". Unbound. Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  13. ^ "Mrs Death Misses Death -". Retrieved 29 June 2017. 
  14. ^ "Peter Coyte". Retrieved 29 June 2017. 
  15. ^ "Salena Saliva Godden". discogs. Retrieved 29 June 2017. 
  16. ^ "Peter Coyte". discogs. Retrieved 29 June 2017. 
  17. ^ "Tibor Jones". Retrieved 29 June 2017. [permanent dead link]
  18. ^ "Expert's and reader's tips: London literary nights | Travel". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  19. ^ "Feature: Event - The Book Club Boutique Wedding (Friday July 2), 7.30pm - House of St Barnabas". Islington Tribune. 1 July 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  20. ^ "Salena Godden". For Books' Sake. 2014-12-28. Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  21. ^ "Salena Godden – The Chronicles in response to 1 Chronicles". Bush Theatre. Archived from the original on 27 May 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2013. 
  22. ^ "Salena Godden" at poetry International Web.
  23. ^ "Feature: Books - Under The Pier. By Salena Godden - West End Extra". Retrieved 29 June 2017. 

External links[edit]