Authored by British Sierra Leonean Poet… Anthology of Incisive Poems on Contemporary Sierra Leonean Socio-Political Issues on Amazon

Bee James is a British Sierra Leonean Poet
Bee James is a British Sierra Leonean Poet

By Amin Kef Sesay-Ranger

Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad now have the opportunity of reading the latest and most incisive poems written by a lady known as Bee James.

Bee James is a British Sierra Leonean Poet who writes under the pseudonym of Ella Llewelyn Jones. Her anthology addresses themes such as social injustice, women’s rights, black history, and corruption in African politics.

In her latest collection of poems published as Sierra Leone in The Diaspora and Ethnic Muse take a poignant look at the social and political circumstances of women in Sierra Leone. They contain moving poems on FGM, child marriage, and socio-economic deprivation.

In an exclusive interview with Bee James, she started by revealing how she was born and raised at Hill Station in Freetown, how she is an English Language & Literature graduate as well as Criminology & Social Sciences graduate and a mum to a lovely boy.

Her anthologies, according to her, employ imagery from Sierra Leone’s local languages, culture, and landscape to address contemporary themes such as women’s rights.

Bee James underscored how Poetry is a way of addressing issues through condensed language. She furthered that her poems are meant to captivate the attention of young readers through utilizing words that provoke critical thinking on issues affecting them such as poverty while appealing to their emotions.

“I’m retelling the story of Sierra Leone through rhymes as well as trying to conjure up the right way of thinking among young people,” she stated.

She also disclosed that her poems will help to change perceptions about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). According to her, the Poem “A Hidden Bush”, which opens the anthology, Sierra Leone, in the Diaspora describes the process of FGM, while trying to captivate the raw emotions of the girls subjected to it by using dark imagery.

“I intend to shock my audience into realizing the impact of female genital mutilation by querying the reasons behind it. Girls, as young as 13 years can read the poem and hopefully take something away from it,” she said.

Asked whether her poems are geared towards social change or creating awareness she said the poem, “Bloody Dowry” is, “an outpouring of emotions on how I feel about issues such as child marriage. I hope to impact on general thinking and complacency about this practice. Those in authority who can effect change should no longer sit by and allow it to occur.”

She also disclosed how in the UK  she aims to generate an awareness of the social problems affecting Sierra Leonean females in order to drum up support from the West in pushing for certain practices to be eradicated.

Responding to putting a strategy in place through which a lot of Sierra Leonean school-going kids could gain access to her poems she said she would want her anthologies to be used in schools and universities as part of the English Literature curriculum to create a love for contemporary Sierra Leonean writing.

She said students might for instance enjoy the alliteration of letters that sound like a flowing river and the metaphors to depict local themes as in when she is describing the effects of sexual abuse on girls in the poem, “Riddle of River Rokel.”

Bee James further disclosed that she is willing to work with the Ministry of Education to discuss how to make the book more widely available in Sierra Leone but said for now individuals can purchase it on Amazon.

Bee James is a British Sierra Leonean Poet
Bee James is a British Sierra Leonean Poet


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