A NEWPORT poet is launching his first collection - the bluntly titled 'Sod 'em - and tomorrow', next month.

Des Mannay was born and grew up in the shadow of the steelworks in Adamsdown in Cardiff, but later moved to Newport and has livedin the city ever since.

He said his background of growing up in a black and minority ethnic (BAME) family has helped to inspire his work.

"Cardiff has one of the oldest BAME populations in the UK," he said.

"The majority of the black population were merchant seamen, who settled in Cardiff's docks area, or Tiger Bay as it was known back then.

"I grew up in what I jokingly referred to later as a black and white family with a 'coloured' telly.

"I discovered I was black accidentally.

"We would always watch the news at teatime. It was sometime around 1972, and the newsreader barked "and the Blacks are rioting in...". It was somewhere in London.

"I said, "Dad, who are the blacks?". My dad looked at me quizzically and said "We are, son"."


In 2015 Mr Mannay was one of the winners of the Creative Futures Literary Awards, which aim to provide opportunities to under-represented or socially excluded artists.

"As part of the prize I was assigned a mentor for a year. We got on well and kept in touch," he said.

"Fast forward to 2018 - my former mentor tells me about another competition and suggests I send some work.

"I am now one of the first t10 poets to be published via LIT-UP, an Arts Council England-funded mentoring and publishing scheme for emerging poets of colour."

The book is due to be launched on February 29 at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre, in Tottenham Green, London.