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Introducing the Maligned Species team: John Siddique

Poet, Writer, Authentic living leader, John Siddique.

John Siddique

When John was a child, he immersed himself in books through his local library. Before becoming a writer he drifted through various jobs such as being a roadie, a pipe-welder, and landscape gardener.

Four poetry collections later, John Siddique is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Royal Literary Fund Consultant Fellow. Former British Council Writer-in-Residence at California State University; and Honorary Creative Writing Fellow at Leicester University; he is well known for his authentic style, his captivating readings, and his infectious love of both literature and life.

His poems, essays & articles have featured in The Guardian, Poetry Review and on BBC Radio 4

John Siddique says:

If I’m honest I don’t really know what the word maligned means, I find that as a species we tend to assume that we know the meanings of things when we don’t, perhaps that’s why politics and the media has the world in such a mess. As I type this I have my trusty Oxford dictionary (not Google) open next to me, and I’m surprised that maligned means – evil by nature or effect, and the verb example says ‘to speak about someone in a spitefully critical manner.’ The way my mind works is that it runs on simple basic questions, in this case, who is doing the maligning? No other species in nature maligns another, nor is anything other than its nature. So who has decided certain things are evil of nature or not? – that something or someone is acceptable or not? I’ve always written about the underdog, the invisible, and the hidden in plain sight. Often in my life that has been myself, the odd one out, who feels too much, reads too much, asks the wrong questions. Those who want to divide us speak in maligning terms such as migrant, foreigner, and so on, and create maligned species by the implication that something’s nature is evil. The only evil is the creation of evil by such division. Why have I chosen to write about maligned species? Because it’s the most important and basic job for the writer to be a witness, and to use words to cut though the words, like a surgeon, to make space for healing.

 

Maligned Species: Poetry. Science. And you.

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