(Lyn Gardner’s article appeared in the Guardian, 5/24.)
Listen to Kate Tempest read her novel ‘Monsters and Slimeballs and Showgirls’ at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07byv7l
Kate Tempest was in Australia earlier this month socking it to them at the Sydney writers’ festival with a speech in which she insisted that guilt about racism is just another form of narcissism and that what is urgently required is “empathy, humility, reparation and change”. This week, she can be heard on Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime, reading a shortened version of her novel The Bricks That Built the Houses with such galvanising energy and, on occasion, fierce rapping, that listeners may need a second cup of cocoa to get to sleep.
She is, of course, a distinctive and unique talent. There may never again be someone who has both been nominated for the Mercury music prize and also won the Ted Hughes award for innovation in poetry. This is a writer and performer who has tried her hand at writing plays (Wasted for Paines Plough), pushed the boundaries between performance and gig in the mesmerising Brand New Ancients, and written her debut novel, which is about young people fleeing a drugs deal gone wrong in south-east London.