Winner of the 2022 International Book & Pamphlet Competition Romalyn Ante and Jonathan Edwards.

Poetry Book Society 2023 Summer Pamphlet Choice.

Didicoy offers a window into the colourful, precarious world of a multiracial Romany family, and focuses on characters at the often-untold margins of society. Blending lyricism with formal experimentation, these poems explore what it is to belong. Clear-eyed and outspoken, Didicoy has something of the impact of a contemporary Cathy Come Home.

Published March 2023

What Writers and Critics Think

  • Her poems are fiercely imaginative, formally innovative, and always explore new territory in the most candid and wonderfully unexpected ways.

    Ruth Padel
  • Courageous, haunting and exquisitely appliquéd with the musicality of her own Romani identity, Downs-Barton’s Didicoy examines a childhood traumatised by loss, poverty, sexism, and the brutality of the care home system. From the heart-rending ‘Of the Men who Came as Shadows in the Night’ to ‘Arriving at the Home for Crying Children’, these are poems of anguish and questioning, poems gathered into a linguistic feast that will leave you breathless.

    Sarah Wimbush
  • Memories of a Romani childhood spent in the care system inform many of the poems in this powerful collection. These are poems rich in linguistic spirit and thrillingly experimental with form. Language becomes an act of courage and reclamation in a collection which both moves and electrifies.

    Ella Duffy


Didicoy by Karen Downs-Barton offers us poems of huge emotional impact. The ability to take subject matter of great importance and express it through significant formal gifts makes the impact of these poems breathtaking. The collection is wonderfully peopled, with an unforgettable portrait of a mother and a powerful and important depiction of life in a children’s home. Writing like this, which combines real expressive skill with material which must be expressed, really reminds us what poetry is for. – Jonathan Edwards, co-judge of the International Book & Pamphlet Competition

Karen Downs-Barton is an Anglo-Romani writer who, after a peripatetic childhood including times in state care, now lives in Wiltshire. Winner of the Cosmo Davenport-Hines prize (2021) and Creative Future silver medallist (2022) she is a PhD candidate at King’s College London, exploring identity through minority languages and multilingualism in entertainment industries.

Additional information

Weight 0.087 kg
Dimensions 21 × 0.5 × 14.8 cm
Publication Year

March 2023


9781914914379, 9781914914386




eBook (ePub), Pamphlet