Profile: Patricia Foster

Patricia Foster is a writer, performer and broadcaster. Drawing on her own experiences, Foster's poetry is intimate and emotive. She has performed in numerous plays and hosts a radio show, interviewing guests such as the musician Don-e and Nubrownsoul.

Where do you live and why? I live in Lewisham, south east London. My parents settled here after emigrating from Jamaica in the 1960s and we still live close to one-another.

What is your earliest London memory? I remember attending my younger sister's christening at our local church, when I was two-years-old and the gathering of guests for photos at our house afterwards.

What do you miss when you're out of London? I miss my immediate family (which consists of my parents, four siblings and their partners, nine nieces and two nephews), shops selling vegan food, the convenience of African-Caribbean food stores and Afro hair and beauty shops.

Where were the last three places you visited? In November I attended the Arvon Residential Creative Writing Course, at Totleigh Barton in Devon  — a life changing experience. In August I was in Tenerife for a holiday; unfortunately, I had one of the most catastrophic holiday experiences ever, courtesy of the travel company and their monumental cock-up of my reservation. In May, I was invited to read poetry at the Volapük Festival, Oslo  — one of the best festivals I have taken part in.

What are your home comforts? I love the feel of my huge fluffy slippers after a long day, my open fire on a cold night and Marmite!

What are your extravagances? I love treating myself to facials, aromatherapy massages, and pedicures and having my hairdresser wash, steam and braided my hair.

What is your life philosophy? In this life you only get what you deserve. If you want respect, you have to earn it first.

What was the last CD you bought?  Unbreakable, by UK singer Don-e. I took the opportunity to buy this album (I missed out first time it was released in the early 90s) when he and I appeared at the Kindred Spirit Show. I'm a huge fan of Omar and recently bought his latest album Sing (If You Want It).

What are your current projects? Woah … where should I start? I am working towards my first collection of poetry, which will hopefully be released next year. I will be collaborating on a theatre project for children. I am part of a very nurturing writers' collective and community - Malika's Kitchen; we are currently building our reputation nationally and internationally, as well as promoting our current publications Handmade Fire and A Storm Between Fingers. I co-host and coordinate The Art Of Words Poets Show on, where we interview and have debates with guests from the worlds of literature, soul music and jazz.

What is your most pressing cause? Working with young people, especially young Black men, in the community. I'm also part of the Njoya Foundation (pronounced Noyah), which was set up in memory of a dear friend, Christian  'Njoya Diawara' Small, to support African-Caribbean boys and young men with their educational and cultural needs. This was something Njoya was committed to before his life was tragically cut short in the July 7th London bombings.

What annoys you most about the government? Creating the stupid 24 hour drinking laws (duh) and the their involvement in the Iraq war.

Which perfume do you wear? I wear Dolce & Gabbana Eau De Toilette Natural Spray

What was the last book you bought? Orange Laughter by Leone Ross  — she was one of our tutors on the Arvon residential writers' course.

What was the last play you saw in London? Ivan, a hip-hop theatre production, written and performed by Jonzi D and Jane Sekonya. I first saw this production at The Albany, Deptford, and would gladly see it again next time it tours. Fantastic!

What items are in your winter wardrobe? Where did you get them? I shop all over: coats and jumpers from a local boutique in Catford Mews, South London, mainly, as well as Gap and Topshop. Also, my friends label Jessica James.

Who is in your secret address book? Friends, family and fellow artists.

What have been your most memorable London meals? I have to say my mother's vegetarian dishes, received by a very satisfied daughter.

What would you do if you were Mayor for the day? First things first, I would scrap the congestion charge. Then I would spend the profits made to date to improve the transport system.

What advice would you give a tourist? Take a packed lunch on your day trips  — London is too expensive for eating out.

Which film is most influential for Black people? Sankofa by Haile Gerima, starring Mutaburuka. Very powerful.

Patrica Foster spoke to Man Tsuey Tse