Wil Roach is a proud Londoner born of Trinidadian parents in the Port of Spain and now living in Sydney, Australia. He found his calling in community activism, as Community Development Worker for London local authorities and actively involved in the London Labour Party.
Wil also had a heartfelt involvement in the mental health system as it affected young black men who were disproportionately locked up in secure asylums.
Wil is a writer of essays and currently working on a memoirs project covering the period of the mid 1960s to early 1980s, as well as a performer of his own poems and short stories.
My father (a Trinidadian through and through) had a selection of cryptic sayings; a favourite of mine is ‘never trust a shadow after dark!’ It has a certain ring to it, but could be applied to any situation requiring a considered view.
For me writing is like breathing, inhaling dirty and exhaling clean air removing darkness and confusion; anything that obstructs the airway of my creativity is fatal to the written or spoken word. I enjoy using the spoken word in poetry and prose through performance to enlighten and provide a fresh set of eyes to the subject being addressed.
For me to perform is about connecting with a small part of every audience members’ soul. It will always be an unimaginable privilege for instance to read Maya Angelou’s poem Still I Rise at the birthday party of 102 year-old friend in 2016. To have shared Year at Sea, a 40-minute memoir performance piece, before an estimated audience of 50 people at Poets Corner, North Sydney, November 2017.
There was the first time I collaborated with other seasoned First Nations Poets in reading a themed poem Give Me Back My Mother’s Heart at the Sydney Writers Festival, May 2015 and reprising it at Barangaroo, September, 2015.
Lastly (for now) in January 2019 "Black, Gay & Underage" the first manuscript of my three-part memoir was published by the Sydney School of Arts and Humanities. The art and practice of writing is with me in my sleep and when I hear the dawn chorus loving and caring for it unconditionally.