Friday 12 April 2024

Ma Mum & William Wordsworth by Julie Kennedy BLOGTOUR #MaMumandWilliamWordsworth @RandomTTours


Part coming of age, part road-trip, written in Lanarkshire dialect; the story is from point of view of a fifteen year old lassie called Erin. 

This is the second edition of the novel; the first edition was longlisted in MsLexia's 2013 First Novel Competition. 

Ma Mum & William Wordsworth is a book about grief but also about making a way and finding a voice when you're young and working class and happen to like poetry; it's about when a parent dies and caregiving roles shift. 

It’s a story rooted deeply in its setting in Scotland, firstly in Lanarkshire and then in Glasgow.

Ma Mum & William Wordsworth by Julie Kennedy was published on 16 January 2024. As part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour, I am delighted to share an extract from the book with you today.

Extract from Ma Mum & William Wordsworth by Julie Kennedy


Ah finish rubbin orange lip gloss oan ma cheeks. Then ah climb doon fae the tree. Ah pull ma school skirt up an go towards the back door. In the lobby, ah’m passin ma mammy, she says ‘Yi’re too young for blusher.’

‘Better than bein peely wally.’
‘Don’t be cheeky. An wipe those leaves off your cardigan.’ Check ma skirt. Dusty bum, no a good look.
‘You’re coming with me to the doctor’s appointment.’ ‘But mam, it’s English first two periods.’

‘Erin, I’m not your mam or your maw. Don’t use that slang on me. I’m your mother. Now, don't argue. You can go back to bed for an hour if you like, the appointment’s not till half ten.’

She’s only goin oan aboot slang cos she’s Irish, but she’d clout me across the face fir sayin that, so decide it’s no the time fir a discussion.

‘An what’ve you done to your tie? Jesus Christ, where’s the rest of it? You made me swear.’

The fashion at oor school’s tae tuck the lang pairt ae yir tie inside yir shirt, so’s only a short, stubby bit shows. Evirybudy his their ties like that except the snobs who hiv big thick knots an lang pairts tae their bellies. ‘Ah’m no goin back tae bed wi ma uniform oan. Ah’ll go an wake, Anna.’

Lookin in the mirror up the stairs, ah tie back ma hair wi a bobble. Ah’ve git the colour ae hair fae ma daddy’s side ae the faimily, it’s broon wi red through it an ma eyes are a light shade ae green that ma best pal Sally says are cats’ eyes but real cats’ eyes are yellae an mine don’t glow in the dark. Folk say ah look like ma mammy, apairt fae the fact her hair is black, but ah don’t see it, only that ah’ve git her  mooth an her smile. Eviryone else in the faimily his a pointy chin, mair like oor dad.

Same as pickin aw the chocolate aff a Club biscuit, linin the pieces oan a silver wrapper, so yi can eat the chocolate last, ah wait fir the right moment tae tell oor Anna that ah’m gittin the mornin aff school. The reaction’s better than expected; she pure runs doon the stairs gien it:

‘How come SHE gits tae stay aff?’

Ah follow her so ah can enjoy it. Ma mammy’s at the cooker makin toast fir the three wee wans, hauf watchin the grill, hauf gien us a row.

‘Get to school and stop moaning.’

Julie Kennedy is a poet and writer. 

Her work has been published widely in poetry magazines such as New Writing Scotland, Causeway/ Cabhsair. Poetry Society Newsletter; Southwords and was highly commended in Ledbury 2022 Poetry Competition. 

She was awarded a Scottish Government Scots Language Publication Grant 2022 to publish an e novel ‘Ma Mum & William Wordsworth’ (first edition longlisted by MsLexia 2013 First Novel Competition)

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