Category Archives: United Kingdom


Victoria-Anne Bulley is a British-born Ghanaian poet and writer based in London.

She is an alumna of the Barbican Young Poets and is a member of the Burn After Reading collective, established by poet Jacob Sam-La Rose. In 2010, her poem The Photograph was published in the anthology Did I Tell You? 131 Poems for Children in Need, alongside the work of Patience Agbabi.

Graduating from the University of Kent in 2013 with a BA in English and Drama, she is currently pursuing an MA in Postcolonial Studies at SOAS, University of London.

Her work is an exploration of the limits of knowledge and the body; cultural origins and a search for wholeness. She is working towards her first collection.

Dorothea Smartt

Dubbed ‘Brit-born Bajan international’ by Caribbean literary icon Kamau Braithwaite, Dorothea Smartt is a poet and live artist. Her poetry braids together standard and Caribbean English; poetic form and speech rhythms; myth, history, observation and reflection. Her first collection Connecting Medium (2001, Peepal Tree Press) was highly praised and features poems from her outstanding performance works Medusa and From You To Me To You (An ICA Live Art commission). Her latest publication Ship Shape is a rich collection of poems, connecting past and present, presence and absence.

Her recent poetry video installation Landfall was part of an international exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands and featured new works exploring the Atlantic Ocean as a natural phenomenon and transporter of dreams and peoples. Dorothea Smartt performs, and exhibits internationally, and regularly works with schools. She is SABLE LitMag’s poetry editor, and Co-Director of Inscribe, a Black & Asian writer’s development program.

Deanna Rodger

Deanna Rodger is an actor and spoken word poet. She is the youngest UK Poetry Slam Champion (2007/8) and completed vocational acting training in The National Youth Theatres (NYT) REP Company 2012.

She has written and performed as a poet and actor in 2012 Olympic Team Welcome Ceremonies (NYT commission), Buckingham Palace (NYT commission), Speakers House (NYT commission), 10 Downing street (somewhere to_ commission) and Honey Coated Dream (Lyric Hammersmith commission) as well as delivering two TedX performances (Southwark and EastEnd). She has recently completed the audio book recording of ‘Feral Youth’ by Polly Courtney and is currently writing her one woman show ‘LondonMatter’ which has received support from POP Productions (IdeasTap, Sky Arts), Roundhouse Camden, The Albany and the Arts Council.

She is co founder of two popular spoken word events Chill Pill and Come Rhyme With Me (Spread the Word, New Writing South) and is in poetry collectives: Point Blank Poets (Biennale UK Artist International award 2011) and Keats House Poetry Forum, as well as leading on Podium Poets (Spread The Word) and workshops in and around the UK.

Jacob Sam-La Rose

Jacob Sam-La Rose is a published poet who devises and facilitates projects for schools and other institutions, emerging poets, teachers, literature professionals and other creatives. His work is grounded in a belief that poetry can be a powerful force within a community, and that it’s possible to combine the immediacy of poetry in performance with formal rigour and innovation on the page. His work has been featured in a range of journals and anthologies. Breaking Silence (2012) is his first book length collection of poetry.

Musa Okwonga

Musa Okwonga is an Oxford University graduate who since then has practised both law and football, with the emphasis on the latter. He won the Junior Bridport Prize for fiction in 1994, for poetry in 1995, and the WH Smith Young Writers competition a year later. He lives in South London.

Okwonga considers himself a poet, a sportswriter, a PR professional, an author, and an occasional MC. Okwonga’s poetry, which he often writes on London buses, travelling entire routes in order to be immersed in humanity, displays astonishing subtlety of observation. “The language has to be a vehicle for the story, the message,” Okwonga says. “Otherwise, it’s just intellectual showboating. People go to poetry gigs to hear intellectual honesty.” In his poetry, as in his life, that is exactly what they get. Okwonga is also a founding member of Poetry collective “A poem in between people” (PIP).

Mojisola Adebayo

Mojisola Adebayo is a British born, Nigerian / Danish performer, playwright, director, producer, workshop leader and teacher. Over the past 20 years, she has worked on theatre projects across the world including Antarctica, Botswana, Brazil, Belgium, Burma, Canada, Finland, Greenland, India, Ireland, Lebanon, Malawi, Mauritius, Norway, Pakistan, Palestine, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Syria, the USA and Zimbabwe. She has acted in over 40 theatre, television and radio productions, scripted, devised and directed over 30 plays and has lead countless workshops and training courses.

Her wide and diverse work has ranged from being an actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company to co-founding VIDYA, a slum dweller’s theatre company in Ahmedabad, India. All of her work is concerned with power, identity, personal and social change. Having trained extensively with and also worked alongside Augusto Boal, she is a specialist facilitator in Theatre of the Oppressed, being invited to work particularly in areas of conflict and crisis.

Mojisola also teaches in the department of Theatre and Performance at Goldsmiths, University of London, at Rose Bruford College and is studying for her PhD at Queen Mary University of London.

Mojisola has written poetry for many years and even had a stint as a teenage rapper. However, it was in 2005 that she embarked upon writing plays as her primary focus, through her landmark production, Moj of the Antarctic: An African Odyssey, which was researched on Antarctica in 2005 and performed at Lyric Hammersmith, Oval House Theatre, Queer up North and had a British Council African tour. She followed this with Muhammad Ali and Me (Oval House) and Matt Henson, North Star, developed in Greenland through Cape Farewell (Lyric Hammersmith).

Her first commission was Desert Boy (Nitro, Albany and national tour). 48 Minutes for Palestine, a collaboration with Ashtar Theatre Palestine, is now touring all over the world. The Listeners, a play for young actors, commissioned by Pegasus Theatre Company, in partnership with The Samaritans (Oxford) premiered in March 2012. She was a Writer-on-Attachment with Unicorn and Birmingham Rep where she wrote Asara and the Sea-Monstress, her first play for children.

I Stand Corrected, created with Mamela Nyamza and commissioned by Artscape, South Africa, premiered in Cape Town in August 2012 and played to rave reviews at Ovalhouse in November / December 2012. The show comes to the Soweto Theatre in 2013.

Alongside her produced plays, Mojisola’s publications include The Theatre for Development Handbook with John Martin and Manisha Mehta, based on their work with VIDYA (order at all proceeds go to the VIDYA charitable trust); 48 Minutes for Palestine in Anna Furse’s Theatre in Pieces: An Anthology of Experimental Theatre from 1968-2010 (Methuen) and Moj of the Antarctic: An African Odyssey in Deirdre Osborne’s Hidden Gems for Oberon Books. Her first solo collection Mojisola Adebayo: Plays One has just been published by Oberon. Order Plays One here: She is busy working on Plays Two

Khadijah Ibrahim

Khadijah Ibrahiim is of Jamaican parentage, born in the city of Leeds, England. Educated at the University of Leeds; she has a MA in Theatre Studies. She is the Artistic Director of Leeds Young Authors and the Producer of Leeds Youth poetry Slam festival. Peepal Tree press published her poetry collection Rootz Runnin in 2008 that same year she toured the USA with the Fwords Creative Freedom writers. As a delegate for the Art Council England (Yorkshire) she attended Calabash International Literature Festival in Jamaica. She became one of the first international writers to attend the El Gouna Writers Residency in Egypt, 2010.

She was a member the advisory group that organized some of the events, which marked the visit of Dr Nelson Mandela to the City of Leeds. Hailed as one of Yorkshire’s ‘most prolific’ poets by BBC Radio, she continues to make various stage appearances across Britain, the USA, the Caribbean and Africa. Peepal Tree Press will publish her latest collection of poems later this year

Kayo Chingonyi

Kayo Chingonyi has performed his poetry in countless live venues across the UK. His work has been broadcast on Radio Five Live and Sheffield Live and is anthologized in The Shuffle Anthology 2009 and City Lighthouse (tall-lighthouse, 2009) as well as appearing in print and online magazines including Pomegranate, Tate Etc and Wasafiri.

He has completed commissions for organisations such as Louis Vuitton and The Poetry Society and was a contributor to Asking a Shadow to Dance a DVD anthology, produced by Oxfam, launched in December 2009.

Lemn Sissay

LEMN SISSAY MBE is associate artist at Southbank Centre, patron of The Letterbox Club and The Reader Organisation, ambassador for The Children’s Reading Fund, trustee of Forward Arts Foundation and inaugural trustee of World Book Night and an honorary doctor of Letters. He has been a writer from birth and foremost he is a poet. 

Lemn is author of a series of books of poetry alongside articles, records, broadcasts, public art, commissions and plays. Sissay was the first poet commissioned to write for London Olympics. His Landmark Poems are installed throughout Manchester and London. They can be seen in The Royal Festival Hall and The Olympic Park. His Landmark Poem,Guilt of Cain, was unveiled by Bishop Desmond Tutu in Fen Court near Fenchurch St Station.

Sissay’s installation poem what if was exhibited at The Royal Academy alongside Tracey Emin and Antony Gormley. It came from his Disko Bay Expedition  to the Arctic alongside  Jarvis Cocker, Laurie Anderson, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Leslie Feist and  KT Tunstall.  His  21st century poem was released on multi-million award winning album Leftism by Leftfield.  A violin concerto performed at The BBC by Viktoria Mullova was inspired by  Lemn Sissay’s poem Advice For The Living.

Sissay’s award winning play Something Dark directed by National Theatre of Wales artistic director John McGrath has been performed throughout the world  and his stage adaptation of Benjamin Zephaniah’s Novel Refugee Boy at West Yorkshire Playhouse tours Britain in 2014.  A BBC  TV documentary, Internal Flight , and a radio documentary, Child of the State,  were both broadcast about his life and his Ted Talk has close to a million views. His documentary on the late  Gil Scott Heron was the first pubic announcement of Scott-Heron’s comeback album.

Sissay describes dawn in one tweet every day. His Morning Tweets. One Morning Tweet  became an award winning building MVMNT Café commissioned by Cathedral group designed and built by Supergroup’s  Morag Myerscough. It is the only building in the world built below a tweet. Cathedral also  commissioned a Landmark Poem,  Shipping Good,  which will be laid into the streets of Greenwich.

He was the first  Black Writers Development Worker in the North of England.  He created and established Cultureword (part of Commonword) where Sissay developed supported and published many new writers who’ve gone on to a life of creativity.  Sissay received an MBE from The Queen  for services to literature and an honorary doctorate from University of Huddersfield who run The Sissay Scholarship for care leavers: It is the first of its kind in the UK.

The Guardian newspaper heralded the arrival of his first book Tender Fingers In A Clenched Fist. “Lemn Sissay has Success written all over his forehead”. He was 21. Between the ages of 18 and 32 he  tracked his family down across the world.  His career as a writer happened in spite of his incredible life story not because of it.

He has made various BBC radio documentaries on or with writers such as Gil Scott Heron, The last Poets, JB Priestley, Edgar Allan Poe and poetry films broadcast to the nation.  His head is in London where he’s based, his heart is in  Manchester where he is not, his soul is in Addis  and his vibe is in New York where his mother lives.  He blogs openly for personal reasons. Google Lemn Sissay and all the hits would be about him. There is only one Lemn Sissay in the world.

Jacqueline ‘pretty poet’ Kibacha

Artist and Writer Jacqueline Kibacha, also known as the Pretty Poet, has a passion for words and a heart to raise the voice of the voiceless. As a creative strategist she uses her poetry to document and respond to the tensions that occur in the world around her and the human soul within.

Originating from Tanzania, living in the Middle East and currently settling in United Kingdom, Jacqueline Kibacha has gained an understanding of issues faced by her brothers and sisters across continents in the light of different cultures, faiths, relationships and politics. It’s hard to be exposed to so many places and not gain a love and appreciation of the colours, textures and rhythms and sounds from East to West. All of these are incorporated in her poetry and music.

Her pre-poetry performance background is in acting and singing. Being a soloist in various choirs, classical to gospel, and also the lead female vocalist of a reggae-funk band that was born in the North East of England. Her creative influences include artists such as Lauryn Hill and Nina Simone who match the weight and richness of their voice with lyrical content that is thought provoking and socially aware.

Kibacha has been a newspaper columnist but has also studied and enjoyed creative writing and is fascinated by the power of words. Through organising music events she has cultivated an eclectic taste in music, which fuelled experimentation that started with sounds and words. In her pieces she fuses the love for words with music, collaborating with DJs, musicians and producers to create poetry with a purpose beyond words on a page.

With a professional background in project planning and community development Jacqueline Kibacha works with like-minded organisations to set up projects that use creativity to address needs, gaps, issues and obstacles in the community.

Avaez Mohammad

Avaes Mohammad is a playwright, poet, performer and research chemist. In 2005, he received the Amnesty International Media Award for his poem Bhopal, broadcast as part of the BBC’s commemoration of the 1984 Bhopal Gas Disaster. Avaes is currently Director of the ‘British South Asian Aesthetics Project’, an initiative committed to the exploration of theatrical forms deemed representative of contemporary British South Asian identities. Works written for theatre include touring productions of In God We Trust and Shadow Companion, for radio Bora Bistrah (BBC Radio 3) and for short film Take It Slow (Contact Theatre/BBC Co-production).

Also committed to participatory work, especially with young people, Avaes regularly delivers creative workshops, using theatre, rap, poetry and science, in education, community and organisational settings. Teacher-practitioner roles have included facilitation for Unheard Voices writing programme (Royal Court) amongst others. Avaes Mohammad is an alchemist-artist creating challenging, provocative work in response to a challenging, provocative world.

Inua Ellams

Born in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria ‘1984, Inua Ellams is a Word and Graphic Artist, a writer with a style as influenced by Classic literature as it is by hip hop, by Keats as it is by MosDef. Rooted in a love for rhythm and language, he crosses 18th century romanticism & traditional story telling with contemporary diction, loose rhythm and rhyme. However, his first love was visual art; the first time he toyed with a pencil, he fell for the magic of line and form. He works extensively as a graphic designer / visual artist and also tries to mix the old with the new juxtaposing texture and pigment with flat shades of color and digitally created designs. He works in online and print.

Poppy Seed

Poppy Seed, Angela Harvey, is a performance poetry act that delivers a concept of conscious poetry and live music that educates, entertains and inspires. It has been described as being “on the cusp of poetry and song. Poppy Seed’s latest release ‘Coming Through’ features some of her hottest grooves and unique genre”.

Poppy Seed is a life coach and committed to Human Rights by using her art to highlight Social justice campaigns; and to celebrate cultural diversity. In this light her eloquent activism has ‘won’ her title ‘Warm Revolutionary.’ Her music has coloured soundtracks, most recently Motherland another groundbreaking award winning film by Director Owen ‘Alik Shahadah about the incredulous journey of African people. and won awards including Best Poet from Black Women in the Arts UK, and ‘The Nina Simone Award for Black Women in Jazz’ 2009. Coming Through is the current defining Album. Preceded by the taster album A Taste that is available through online outlets as a limited edition and a gem.

Poetic Pilgrimage

Poetic Pilgrimage are an exciting female Hip Hop and spoken word duo from the UK who are set to take the world by storm with their unique sound, intelligent lyrics and unparalleled charisma. They are a rare act, being one of the few Muslim female outfits around and are unafraid to express themselves through the art of rhyme.

Poetic Pilgrimage brings a refreshing perspective on issues of identity, immigration, and global politics and as one of the very few Muslim, female Hip Hop acts in the world, their music reflects this unique experience. The world has much to learn from the lyrics of these two women.

Muneera Rashida and Sukina Abdul Noor were both born in Bristol to Jamaican parents, and have been performing together as Poetic Pilgrimage for 6 years. The early part of their career saw them as favorites on the London poetry circuit where they performed alongside some of the biggest names, placing them at the forefront of the fast-growing International Muslim Hip Hop scene. They use their music to unite their community with the greater hip-hop and music scene.

Their musical goals are to make progressive Hip Hop music that fuses their African and Caribbean roots with their musical tastes such as Jazz, Afrobeat, Soul and beyond, providing a creatively comparable backdrop to their message of peace, unity and freedom.

The group has toured all over Europe and the United States and have performed alongside artists such as Talib Kweli from the USA, K’naan from Somalia and Mutabaruka from Jamaica. They have received critical acclaim and press coverage from many of Europe’s most notable publications.

Whether helping youth learn to write heartfelt poetry, or rapping at the most male-dominated Hip Hop venues, Poetic Pilgrimage has become one of the most well-known and well-respected Muslim hip-hop crews in the world.

Segun Lee French

Nigerian-Mancunian Segun is a singer, poet, producer/composer, playwright, film-maker & club promoter, founder member of Manchester’s Speakeasy People poetry collective. As singer for cult triphop band, Earthling, Segun has performed on MTV, BBC1, VH1 & Canal 5.

As a poet and playwright, Segun’s work has been commissioned for broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and RadioManchester. Segun’s debut solo show, Bro 9 at Contact Theatre, won Best Fringe Performer & Best Design in the prestigious Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards. In autumn 2005, Segun was nominated for the Arts Foundation Performance Poetry award. Segun’s first poetry collection, Praise Songs for Aliens was published by Suitcase Press in October 2009.

Yrsa Daley-Ward

Yrsa Daley-Ward is a writer and poet of mixed West Indian and West African heritage. Born to a Jamaican mother and a Nigerian father, Yrsa was raised by her devout Seventh Day Adventist grandparents in the small town of Chorley in the North of England. Her first collection of stories On Snakes and Other Stories was published by 3:AM Press. Bone is the title of her new book.

Zena Edwards

Zena Edwards is a London-based performance poet, writer and musician. Her vibrant poetry is inspired by her experiences of travel, particularly through Africa, as well as traditional African music and song. She often accompanies her work with mbira, kalimba and marimba (thumb pianos). Zena has performed at WOMAD, The London Jazz Festival, Poetry International at the Royal Festival Hall, The URB Hip Hop Festival (Helsinki), Glastonbury as well as many others.

She has produced two CDs, entitled Healing Pool and Mine 4 Life.