The Hungry Ghost Festival – Jen Campbell
Jen Campbell is from a village just outside Newcastle upon Tyne. She graduated from Edinburgh University with an Ma in English Literature in 2009 and now lives in North London. She works in an antiquarian bookshop and her book Wierd Things Customers Say in Bookshops was published in April 2012 by Constable and Robinson.
The Hungry Ghost Festival [a traditional Chinese festival]. On the 15th night of the seventh lunar month, the boundaries between the living and the dead break down, and the dead visit the earth looking for food and entertainment.
Jen Campbell’s festival celebrates the presence of the past, in this case childhood and adolescence in the North East, as it floats through the present adult consciousness.
“Jen Campbell’s The Hungry Ghost Festival is a magical debut. Her charged poems of a northern childhood in South Shields and Cleadon Hills; of family, sex and other rites of passage are fresh and compelling – told with a canny eye for detail and a gorgeous turn of phrase. This is an arresting collection from a writer fully in command of an unusual and significant voice.” Anna Woodford
“These are poems full of wonder and surprise. Jen Campbell tells us stories about growing up in the changing North East; reimagining love, childhood and home in strange and magical ways.” Liz Berry
“This is already one of my favourite collections! In this witty, wild and imaginative collection, Jen Campbell opens the doors wide and takes you through to her own fierce world where nothing goes unquestioned. Childhood memories such as being told about ‘oral sex on the 525 home’, kissing TV screens and praying to the Angel of the North transform themselves, selkie-like, to more adult themes, the internet as ‘a virus on wheels’. A mixture of strong filmic images and rich language mean that the poems always keep their sense of wonder and strength.” Sarah Salway
Cover by Laura Barnard.