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Penned to help those suffering from heartbreak, emotional pain and disillusionment, Heart Shards and Lip Balm is the debut self-care poetry collection of 20-year-old former Commended UK Foyle Young Poet of the Year, Imani Shola. Andrews McMeel Publishing, publishers of New York Times bestselling self-care collection, Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, describe Imani’s poetry as possessing ‘a beautiful voice’ and have honoured her collection’s outstanding ‘concept and heart’. The collection of 100 self-care poems and affirmative notes-to-reader offers readers what Imani describes as ‘love in book form’, in radical response to the epidemic of depression amongst the millennial generation to which she belongs, and to recent tragedies tearing across Britain.
Heart Shards and Lip Balm, written by the student author over 11 months as she balanced her full-time Cambridge studies with managing her online platforms, offers explorations and reflections on everything from terrorism, the impacts of social media upon millennials, sexual abuse, mental illness, depression, and immigration and the experience of the diaspora, to Imani’s experiences as a woman of colour, femininity, sexuality, family breakdown, faith, betrayal, romance, heartbreak and disillusionment. It traces the journey from heartbreak to healing by offering readers heartfelt reassurance in proverb-style wisdom poems and affirmative self-care reminders. The poems are relevant to an intergenerational and intercultural audience.
“The collection really came from a desire to simply love on my generation,” says Imani, “among whom depression and a real lack of self-care and self-esteem are rife. I saw it among my peers and it breaks my heart. I wanted to make a radical, positive change—so I wrote a book.”
Imani isn’t wrong; the book’s message of self-care from one millennial to millions across the globe could not come at a better time, since studies show that the millennial generation is suffering from higher depression rates than their Generation X counterparts and almost 40 percent of millennials say their stress is increasing1. And in the US alone, between 2005 and 2014, the number of depressed teens increased by more than half a million—three-fourths of which were teenage girls2, the main audience for the book.
A past winner of the world’s largest and most prestigious award for poets aged 11-17 writing original works in English, the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, Imani is already a bourgeoning force on the British poetry scene. She was named a commended winner at age 14 by Imtiaz Dharker and Glyn Maxwell. The annual competition, which attracts over 10,000 entries from more than 6,000 poets across 76 countries, is run by The Poetry Society, whose famous National Poetry Competition has kickstarted the careers of the likes of British Poet Laureate, Dame Carol Ann Duffy.
Heart Shards and Lip Balm is now available. Purchase your copy here.