Salena Godden

We represent Salena for Literary, Film and TV, brand, acting, stage, live events, and podcasting rights. To speak to us about these please email [email protected]

Salena Godden FRSL is an award-winning writer, novelist, poet, memoirist and broadcaster of Jamaican and Irish mixed heritage based in London. Her debut novel Mrs Death Misses Death won the Indie Book Award for Fiction and the People’s Book Prize 2022, and was shortlisted for the British Book Awards and the Gordon Burn Prize and it featured in the Guardian books of the year list 2021. Her work has been widely anthologised and broadcast on BBC radio, TV and film.

Pessimism is for Lightweights – 30 Pieces of Courage and Resistance was published in a hardback edition by Rough Trade Books in February 2023. It features revised and new material, an introduction by John Higgs and an Old English translation of the title poem by Emily Cotman. The poem Pessimism is for Lightweights was a pubic poetry art piece on display at the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol in 2017. The poem has since been donated to The Peoples History Museum in Manchester where it is now on permanent display. It was unveiled on  February 2020 as part of the museum’s 10 year anniversary celebrations. 

She was inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2022. In the summer of 2023 Godden was invited to become a Patron of Hastings Book Festival alongside poet Henry Normal and author Patrice Lawrence. Also in summer 2023 Godden was made an Honorary Fellow of West Dean in Sussex.

Godden has had several volumes of poetry published including Under The Pier (Nasty Little Press 2011) Fishing in the Aftermath: Poems 1994-2014  (Burning Eye Books 2014) Pessimism is for Lightweights – 13 Pieces of Courage and Resistance (Rough Trade Books 2018) plus also a literary childhood memoir, Springfield Road  (Unbound 2014). She has produced four studio albums to date – her solo performance poetry album LIVEwire (Nymphs and Thugs) was shortlisted for The Ted Hughes Prize.

She is currently working on a new poetry collection and novel, both of which will be published by Canongate alongside her previously published memoir, Springfield Road.


Mrs Death Misses Death

Mrs Death has had enough. She is exhausted from spending eternity doing her job and now she seeks someone to unburden her conscience to. Wolf Willeford, a troubled young writer, is well acquainted with death, but until now hadn’t met Death in person – a black, working-class woman who shape-shifts and does her work unseen. Enthralled by her stories, Wolf becomes Mrs Death’s scribe, and begins to write her memoirs.

Currently Working On

  • Canongate have recently acquired the rights for three books from Salena: a novel, a memoir (Springfield Road) and a collection of poetry (With Love, Grief, Fury)