The Stoke Newington Literary Festival kicked off on Monday night with a packed Town Hall for Irvine Welsh in conversation with John Niven. But it was Salena Godden, who introduced the event, who really held my attention. She has presence. Godden, the Goddess, with long legs in hot-pink fuck me shoes, and enormous breasts – accentuated by a tight vintage-style dress, and almost falling out every time she leant forward to place her glass of wine, mic and whatever else she kept fiddling with, at the base of the lectern. What a vision to an expectant audience, there mostly to satiate their laddish literary taste for Welsh. But fronting an event like that, Salena needed to make an impression, and that she certainly did. She wore her womanliness with pride, her exhibitionism becoming part of her act: a boldness mixed with endearing honesty expressed in poems like, ‘I’m Gunna Move to Hastings.’ She quickly won the audience over with her humour and ease.
Kerrang! Magazine has quoted her as being ‘everything the Daily Mail is terrified of’ which kind of sums her up. She owned the stage with her unapologetic sexuality and brave performance. In a time where writers need to stand out from the crowd, Salena has the balance right. She appears to have fun with her writing, and fun with her performing, and her enjoyment floods out to the audience. I admired her for that. I also look forward to what the coming weekend holds at Hackney’s very own Lit Fest.