Zones of Avoidance

Written by Maggie Sawkins, Zones of Avoidance is a collection of poetry based on her multimedia production that won the Ted Hughes award for new work in poetry in 2014.

Zones of Avoidance, however, with its story about a mother trying to deal with her daughter’s drug addiction, and the heartrending moment when a baby has to be given up for adoption, is no picture-postcard portrait of this old naval city.

Playwright and director Mark Hewitt, who worked with Sawkins on the award-winning project, welcomed members of the recovery community in Portsmouth who were at the launch, and who had collaborated with the film and the recording of their own words. He told how the project began in October 2012 with the recording of first-person testimonies of recovering addicts, and how much was put together in the basement bar of the New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth – not that glamorous a location, we were led to understand. He said: “There were so many layers of text … we realised we had a significant piece of work.” The journey ended “at this posh club in London, where Maggie won the award, which was incredible”.

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Further dates and details for Zones of Avoidance events can be found here.