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“The writing, which is top notch, weaves from conversational script to poetry to storytelling and back again. Beautiful complex strong work.” – Michelle Green


Glue (the book) expands on the true-life script of Louise’s first two meetings with her birth mother, three decades after being put up for adoption. This ‘extended-remix’, features outstanding poems and vivid prose, retelling a childhood shuttled from one carer to another. Clear-eyed, affecting, witty and engaging, Glue is often disturbing but is also ultimately life-affirming.

Louise grew up in care from the age of nine and Glue celebrates both her fierce independence and emotional vulnerability. Poetry, prose and script, supplemented by documents from Louise’s social services file. Also includes a keynote speech given to the Social Work Scotland Annual Conference, at Crieff Hydro, 14th June 2017.





There are some people who set their world alight. They do this to illuminate hidden matters. With this in mind my fictional heroine is Lisbeth Salander. My living, breathing heroine is Louise Wallwein. Glue binds.

– Lemn Sissay


The poems and plays that thread through this volume are wonders of language, rhythm and life. Yet the whole is still more - a bold experiment in telling the self: writing a tough, fragile, extraordinary spirit into our souls.  Louise Wallwein’s Glue is an unforgettable gift to the reader - an act of poetic generosity.

- John McGrath


Glue is Louise Wallwein's pugnacious self-defence mechanism made therapeutically manifest in words we cannot fail to understand. The trained boxer, wing-walking poet and successful performer and writer has hoisted an identity in the face of overwhelming odds. Not bad for a catholic girl, who, according to one residential social worker and nun, had 'ideas above her station. – Steve Whitaker, Literary Correspondant, The Yorkshire Times

Read the full review here.





Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens. It is morning the sun is 
shining, the birds are singing.


Everything made sense 
The spiders web catching the sunlight 
The name written on the bench I was sitting on 
The pregnant woman taking the weight off her feet 
while she watches her toddler search for his reflection 
in the pond 
The old ladies who when they see me 
pause their conversations 
and their smile seems to say they know what my truth is 
The man I shared a cig with 
I couldn’t tell them what I had just found out 
But these strangers knew that this day was mine 
And I felt connected to them I heard my ancestors 
I swear I did as it took me thirteen hours to get from 
Didsbury to Hulme I heard them 
In those 13 hours I experienced 
… joy 
like nothing I’ve ever known 
Finally someone wanted me, was claiming me 
I was in my own skin 
Something kicks in the back of your brain when your 
handed over, relinquished, given up 
When you can no longer smell your mother’s milk 
Something called survival kicks in. 
I’m sure of it 
For the first time 
I felt alive 
It didn’t matter that she said she would meet me just 
the once
That was all I needed

Louise faces the mirrors 

Just the once to see who I looked like J
ust the once to find out who I am 
Just the once to tell me where I come from Just the once It was enough 
Just the once wouldn’t mess up her life 
Just the once because I didn’t need a mum anymore 
Just the once I wanted nothing from her 
Just to see, 
just to understand 
That was all

Storytelling present

SFX: A House Louise moves the chairs to form the meeting room side by side facing the audience It was all arranged by the adoption place. They had a special house in Didsbury. It is similar to nearly every house I grew up in as a kid. On the outside it looks like a normal house. On the inside it had the same institutional colours, institutional chairs and institutional air. The windows are misted out. I am put in a room

More by Louise Wallwein

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