My early writings were soaked in melancholy and produced late at night while I drowned myself in my favourite cocktail of whisky and Drambuie and chain-smoked Marlboro Reds. Needless to say, in the cold light of morning, a lot of it was dross. Angry and hurt at my marginalised status, I rejected the English canon on which I\’d been raised. I turned instead to the wave of brilliant African-American poets and prose stylists then hitting these shores: Gloria Naylor, Ntozake Shange, Michelle Cliff, Alice Walker, Audre Lorde and Toni Morrison. Their writings placed black women centre stage and inspired me to do the same.