Away Being, Coming Home
Samira Ahmed explores understandings of 'home' and the experiences of people leaving, desiring to leave and returning to their former dwelling places.
Samira Ahmed explores understandings of 'home' and the experiences of young people leaving, desiring to leave and returning to their former dwelling places.
When the Beatles wrote their iconic song She's Leaving Home, they painted a picture of the post-war suburban house as a claustrophobic cage, trapping the free spirited young woman eager to make her way in the brave new world of 1960's Britain.
Decades later, the 'boomerang generation' abounds, as rapidly growing numbers of young adults return to the parental home due to economic or employment pressures. This situation can be emotionally and practically challenging for all the family.
The term 'home' implies much more than simply a building or a geographical location. It can also be a community, a family, an institution, a sense of emotional well being. Not all houses are a home to those who reside there.
Samira Ahmed considers 'home' and how writers and musicians have explored relationships between parents and children, at this pivotal point of leaving home. The title - Away Being, Coming Home - refers to a cross arts project in which young people, writers and musicians created work inspired by photographs of empty croft houses in the Hebrides, and the stories of their former inhabitants. The programme opens with a poem, Barren, a response to an image of one of these homes left behind.
Includes music from The Beatles, Yo La Tengo, South African bassist and composer Benjamin Jephta and The Smiths. There's poetry from Tony Harrison, Cecil Day Lewis and Grace Nichols, and readings from L-Shaped Room by Lynne Reid Banks, and Jill by Phillip Larkin.
The readers are Rachel Atkins, Natasha Gordon and Peter Ormond.
Producer: Lucy Dichmont
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.
Samira Ahmed's blog
Synopsis: poem inspired by a photograph titled 'Unmade Bed, Lewis' depicting an empty croft house in the Hebrides, seemingly abandoned hastily. The poet imagines what might have happened to the former occupants.
Author: Marjorie Lotfi Gill
The poem is unpublished but image and text can be viewed at The Thrive Archive
Title: the L- Shaped Room
Synopsis: Thrown out of her family home after becoming pregnant, the unmarried protagonist contemplates her new home, a room on the margins of mainstream society.
Author: Lynne Reid Banks
From: the L- Shaped Room
Random House, 2014( reprint original 1962)
Synopsis: Poem exploring how the poet's relationship with his father changes after the sudden death of his mother. Read by the author.
Author: Tony Harrison
From: Tony Harrison: Selected Poems
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; 2nd Revised edition edition (29 Jun. 1995)
Title: Walking away (For Sean)
Synopsis: Poem describing a father's emotions as he watches his young son walking into school for the first time
Author: by C Day Lewis
From: The Gate and Other Poems
Publisher: Cape (1969)
Walking Away is read by permission of Peters Fraser & Dunlop on behalf of the Estate of C Day Lewis
Title: Extract from the Women's Room
Synopsis: protagonist Mira reflects on the process of children separating from their mothers.
Author: Marilyn French
From: The Women's Room
Publisher: Andrew Deutsch (1978) Warner Books reprint (1992)
ISBN 0 75150538 2
Title: Like a Beacon
Synopsis: Smells and sights trigger powerful memories and longings for home.
Author: Grace Nichols
From: Poems on the Underground, Tenth Edition, edited by Gerard Benson, Judith Chernaik & Cicely Herbert
Publisher: W&N, 2001)
Title: A house of my own
Synopsis: The author reflects on the freedom of having a house that belongs entirely to her.
Author: Sandra Cisneros
From: The House on Mango Street
Publisher: Bloomsbury (2004) reprint of 1991 Vintage
Title: Extract from 'Jill'
Synopsis: a young working class man arrives at university, and is disturbed to find his room occupied by students of a different social class.
Author: Phillip Larkin
Publisher: Overlook Press (1984)
Title: Saturday at the canal
Synopsis: a young man dreams of running away to the hippy haven of San Francisco.
Author: Gary Soto
From: Home Course in religion
Publisher: Chronicle Books (1991)
ISBN ISBN-10: 087701857X
The programme title: ‘Away Being, Coming Home’, refers to a cross arts project in which young people, writers and musicians created work inspired by photographs of empty croft houses in the Hebrides, and the stories of their former inhabitants. The programme opens with a poem, 'Barren', read by author Marjorie Gill, in response to an image of one of these homes left behind, entitled 'Unmade Bed, Lewis', by photographer Ian Paterson.
More images and details about the exhibition can be found at: