A collection of poetry exploring themes of race, place and friendship has been published by a former Dorset resident.

Louisa Adjoa Parker, who now lives in Somerset but spent 25 years in Lyme Regis and Dorchester, is the author of How To Wear a Skin, an anthology of poems set in south west England.

A writer of English and Ghanaian heritage, Louisa takes inspiration from her own story and the imagined stories of others. Of her move to south Devon in 1985, Louisa said: "I experienced a lot of racism from local kids. It was a totally white area at the time; I didn’t see another brown face, apart from my siblings’, for years. I realised I hadn’t felt able to express what life was like when I was younger, as most of my friends have been white."

She added: "It’s important for marginalised people from the south west to tell our stories. The beautiful rural idyll hides a lot of discrimination and deprivation."

Poems within How To Wear a Skin include Beach Huts, It Ends Like This and Take Back Control, all of which focus on the theme of identity and question what it means to grow up mixed-race in a rural English town.

Louisa has lived in the west country for most of life, writing poetry as well as books and articles exploring Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) history in the region. She also works as an equality, diversity and inclusion consultant and delivers BAME history workshops in schools, colleges, libraries, and prisons across the south west.

Louisa's first poetry collection, Salt-sweat and Tears, was published in 2007 and is a largely autobiographical account of life as a mixed-heritage woman in rural England. She also produced a pamphlet, Blinking in the Light, which was inspired by a year spent living in Lyme Regis. Her poetry has been shortlisted by the Bridport Prize twice, and Highly Commended by the prestigious Forward Prize.

How To Wear a Skin is now available from Indigo Dreams Publishing and most bookshops. The official launch will take place at the Customs House in Exeter on January 22, 2020.

For more information about Louisa's work, visit www.louisaadjoaparker.com.