Half Woman, Half Grief 

Maya Kalaria

Book Design

Book Design

Book design for a collection of poems written by Maya Kalaria, titled 'Half Woman, Half Grief'. 

Illustrations by Ellie Coates.

Book 5

I was approached by Maya to help her put together a collection of poems that she'd written since the age of nine, when she experienced the sudden and tragic loss of her mother. The poems are raw and expressive — a story of loss, death and buried grief — and the release of the book is of huge personal significance to Maya.


It was important that the design of the book reflected the feelings of loss that Maya experienced. The use of empty space is evident throughout; each page is laid out thoughtfully and individually to suit the poem.


The book is such a personal piece that it seemed fitting to use Maya's handwriting within the design. It tied together Ellie's illustrations with the wording really nicely, and kept that raw and authentic feel throughout the book.


The chapters of the book mark the different stages of Maya's journey. The chapter pages were designed so that the handwriting would ascend within each chapter, leading to the final 'resurrection' of her grief.


You can find out more about Maya and the book on her website here.

Photographs by Tasha Park.

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