Spotlight: Angry Yellow Woman by Vera Chok – Book Launch Party

Spotlight: Angry Yellow Woman by Vera Chok – Book Launch Party

Roving reporters Mary & Hamish attended Vera Chok’s lively and packed launch party for their acclaimed debut poetry collection, Angry Yellow Woman.

We grabbed a pint of Werewolf Beer’s delicious craft beer, and took a seat, basking in the fresh, fierce, and fearless storytelling of the incomparable, Vera Chok

Spotlight: Angry Yellow Woman by Vera Chok – Book Launch Party 1

Their masterful performance talent was in full force, as they brought their poetry to life through characteristic charm and comedy. As Chok confessed about their writing process, ‘I respond to structure and deadlines, that’s when I work best. I like it best when there are rules and I can break them!’

Chok is certainly not afraid to break the rules. Their writing pivots from outrageously hilarious to touchingly poignant at the turn of a phrase, revealing their ability to both make us howl, and then moments later, to feel deeply. In one line, they casually tease, ‘If I asked, you’d lick my ass?’ As the audience chuckles, they swiftly transition into a conversation about the root of their anger. Chok confesses, ‘Anger is related to fear. Why am I angry? I don’t want to die alone.’ The writing is intoxicating – interweaving vulnerability and farce with utter sophistication and heart.

Spotlight: Angry Yellow Woman by Vera Chok – Book Launch Party 2

Who is Vera Chok?

Vera Chok (they/she) is, in their own words, “a queer Malaysian-Chinese actor, funny-person, poet and dogmum. They are both Disruptor and Homemaker.” Working in many creative forms including as a poet, writer, performer, actor, and improviser, Vera is perhaps best known for their essay “Yellow”, published in The Good Immigrant. As part of the book’s collection of essays by British Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic authors, “Yellow” explores Vera’s experiences as a Malaysian immigrant in Britain, alongside ideas of “East Asianness” in a British context. 

Spotlight: Angry Yellow Woman by Vera Chok – Book Launch Party 3

They’ve been published by The Guardian, Bloomsbury, and Brain Mill Press, and their writing has been performed at The Roundhouse, Shakespeare North, Rich Mix, and more. Beyond their writing, Vera is an accomplished actor and performing. They’ve performed with Shakespeare’s Globe, The National Theatre, and various London West End theatres, as well as developing and playing in plays like Tom Stoppard’s The Hard Problem, and Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s The World of Extreme Happiness. 

Who’s angry?

Spotlight: Angry Yellow Woman by Vera Chok – Book Launch Party 4

Angry Yellow Woman is Vera’s first book of poetry. This collection’s preface probes, ‘Is Vera a woman, though? And how yellow are they? The anger is real. These playful, searching, and violently sexy pieces expose Vera’s immigrant-hobo journey through the landscapes, beds, and bodies of the UK and beyond. They’re a record of how – and where – Vera has tried to locate safety and joy. At the ends of the earth, or down Bethnal Green station? This colonised body seems stuck – flat nose pressed up against the window of Tesco, Chinese eyes wide, hungry. Mouth sighing Malay.’

Highlights from the book presented at the launch include “Vera Chok’s Mega Dance Party XXX” – a chaotic, passionate shout-dance of thoughts and memories, performed to a tinny chorus of Sean Kingston’s Me Love (the remix featuring Plies, Vera insists) played over youtube from the phones of everyone in the room simultaneously. Another, “Ted and Sylvia” (presented with some impromptu audience assistance, and a loud “BOOOOO!” to assigning its speaking roles along gender conforming lines), becomes an enticing not-quite-talking-to-each other back-and-forth dialogue of two people looking for love (or maybe not) in London while grappling with the pressure to never be quite single. These moments capture this poetry collection’s spirit: wild, passionate, contemplative, vulnerable, and always leaping to the next moment.

Want more? Check out the book!

Angry Yellow Woman is out now! You can order your copy direct from Chok’s publisher Burning Eye Books, support your local indie bookstore, or embrace capitalism at Waterstones, Foyles, or Amazon

And if you’re looking for a fantastic, kitschy, fun-house-horror-filled night out, do check out the Werewolf Beer Taproom! Just around the corner from Camden Road overground station, this classic Hollywood horror and Americana-themed brewery has a great selection of in-house craft beers we highly recommend!