Lay down your flowers and raise up your fists…

Deborah Finding’s debut poetry pamphlet, ‘vigils for dead and dying girls’ takes the feminist slogan ‘the personal is political’ to heart, as it approaches sexual violence and inequality as both painfully individual and deeply systemic.

Dark humour, magic and witchcraft play their part in the tales told here, whether the fate of fairy tale characters in a mental health institution, or a girls’ brunch-turned-hexing session with some of mythology’s most powerful goddesses. Music is also a key theme throughout: providing the backdrop to a sexual assault, used as a tool for healing, and providing the rhythm of a feminist protest anthem.

Poems drawn from front-page headlines of violence against women - such as the high-profile murders of Sarah Everard, Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman - and associated misogyny in policing, legal and media institutions sit alongside broader reflections on the insidious cultural abuse of women and girls. Societal pressures, sexist tropes and the constant threat and fear of violence faced by women are depicted with deftness and wit as Finding draws on her professional and academic expertise in gender and trauma to create an easily accessible space, in which the radical truth-telling and rigour required for these highly-charged topics is balanced by compassion and care for her audience.

‘vigils for dead and dying girls’ is a display of anger, empathy and solidarity: each poem standing as a candle shining light into a dark place, but also offering hope for a better future.

Praise for 'Vigils for Dead and Dying Girls'

“Poems like waterfalls, sparkling, but with dangerous currents”

⁃ Caroline Bird

“The power of Deborah Finding’s verse is in the wide and dazzling spectrum of its modes. Always mindful and heartfelt, it ranges from the sharply political to the bleakly comic, through resonant urban anthems, sardonic turns, and white-hot fury at the smug squalor of contemporary male English authority. Finding is original, subtle and hugely engaging, a welcome and timely new voice.”

⁃ Glyn Maxwell

“Intelligent, heart-filled and painfully relevant, ‘vigils for dead and dying girls’ will curl artfully around you and make you feel just a little less alone.”

⁃ Thea Gilmore

“Deborah Finding’s poems are nothing short of miraculous. In ‘vigils for dead and dying girls’, she reveals an innate ability to give voice to women of all varieties through her writing, weaving collective threads of visibility through vivid chronicles of vulnerability, resistance and redemption. These are words that will empower, embolden and inspire.”

⁃ Rachael Sage

Deborah Finding

Dr. Deborah Finding is a queer feminist writer from the UK with a background in academia and activism. In addition to being widely anthologised, her poetry publications include fourteen poems, berlin lit, The Friday Poem, iamb, Queerlings and The Alchemy Spoon.She was the winner of the Write By the Sea 2022 Poetry Competition and was commended in the Troubadour International Poetry Prize 2022. She was also a finalist in the Write Bloody and Live Canon 2022 competitions, and was shortlisted / selected for the Ver Poets and Hexham Poetry Prizes in 2023.

Deborah has also written for The Guardian, the Huffington Post and DIVA magazine, as well as in popular academic publications from Routledge, IB Tauris etc.

Originally from the North-East of England, Deborah now lives in London.

at the hospital for ill fairy tales


Red won’t take off her cloak
her basket is always packed
ready to run, won’t be fooled again
if I close my eyes I still see his teeth
shh… it’s safe, no wolves here, dear
increase to 10mg of haloperidol

Snow is desperate to get home
they can’t manage without her
have to check the apples again
everything I want turns to poison
shh… it’s safe, you can eat here, pet
let’s try you on the risperidone

Beauty is hiding in the corner
she won’t take her eyes off the door
tried so hard to be good and kind
he just gave me to that… that beast
shh… it’s safe, they’re gone, flower
we’ll add in some amitriptyline

God is silent, verging on catatonic
incapacitated by consequences
going round the free-will loop again
I could end it all and start over
shh… learn to live with yourself, love
there’s nothing else we can give you