Books

Brown Siren by Emmanuel Umweni

Emmanuel Umweni is a 2019 finalist for the Shakespeare Selfie student writing challenge in the Grade 7 to 9 category.

2019 finalist: Grade 7 to 9 category

Emmanuel Umweni is a 15-year-old student from Toronto. (Submitted by Emmanuel Umweni)

Emmanuel Umweni is a finalist of the 2019 Shakespeare Selfie Student Writing Challenge. This annual writing competition challenges students to write a soliloquy or monologue in the voice of a Shakespearean character based on a prominent news, pop culture or current affairs event from the last year (April 2018 to April 2019).

Read the work of the 2019 Shakespeare Selfie finalists.

Umweni, who attends St. Basil-the-Great College School in Toronto, wrote about the recent Amber Alert of an 11 year-old-girl from the perspective of Romeo & Juliet's Nurse.


Riya! Where art thou? She's gone not to be found!
Her father must've taken thee; twas the gentlest soul
Police aid my search but we've ventured all round
He stealeth her from me! But to which goal

Just few hours till morrow's dawn
Whilst her brethren fall and wait
Sleep tickles but, I dare not yawn
For my rest is thy knowledge of your fate

I calleth out your name Riya! Riya! To no avail
Oh heavens may it not be her demise 
I pray ye mustn't do evil'n fail
I beg fail not my hope in her there lies

Police, they come my heart leaps in fovid
Yet their faces come ark and grim
What doest thou unless they jest; Oh God forbid
Tears clog my view as my heart solos in its finest hymn

I render curses and witchcraft to him befall
Uselessly I rise see pity cast his devious smile
Riya! Riya! I yell but no shall answer my afflicting call
I reach out but you may not embrace me for your soul liveth in exile

In disbelief, I let out a single damned cry
Not for relief nor for comfort
But a single yet sorrowful goodbye

now