This #InternationalWomensDay, we thought we’d shine a light on one of Wales’ finest women writers who, despite a relatively short career and untimely passing, produced some of the most important and memorable short fiction of the 20th century in Wales.
Leonora Brito was a writer from Cardiff. Her writing covered a wide range of issues, including racism and feminism, and she used her characters as a voice through which to pen her observations of the world around her. She is well known for her collection of short stories, Dat’s Love - a wonderful engagement with Cardiff through fiction first published by Seren in 1995. The book captures the experience of a working class black woman in Cardiff, particularly with the influence of her birthplace, Tiger Bay, and the title story won the Rhys Davies Short Story Award in 1991.
We recently re-issued Dat’s Love in our Library of Wales series, (with an addition of two stories). Despite the fact that Brito didn’t have a long writing career, spanning from the 1990s to her death in 2007, the work we do have the pleasure of reading today is an insightful outlook on the landscape Leonora faced as a working class black woman. Brito’s voice was, and is, deeply needed.
To celebrate the brilliant work of Leonora Brito, National Theatre Wales is holding a reading, in three parts, of her collection, with music from Imran Khan and illustrations by Kyle Legall. Actress Rakie Ayola will read from the book, and it will be available to stream on AM from Thursday the 15th of April.
On Saturday the 13th of March at 9pm there will also be a BBC Radio 4 programme, ‘Lights Up: Stripe by Stripe and Other Stories’ which will also focus around Leonora Brito’s brilliant stories.
On International Women’s Day 2021, it is more important than ever to uplift extraordinary women, and Brito encompasses so much of what we value today: an inspiring intersectional writer, whose fiction should never be forgotten.