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This year we’re closing the festival with a party – a hip-hop fuelled rhythm and poetry party curated by acclaimed poets Inua Ellams and Theresa Lola, featuring 13 brand new commissions inspired by Kanye West’s iconic early noughties album The College Dropout. Expect a night equal parts boogie and brilliance, with sets from DJ Sid Mercutio and sizzling new words from a specially assembled playlist of powerhouse poets.
Featuring Jasmine Cooray, Tim Clare, Kat Francois, Yomi Sode, Shade Joseph, Jolade Olusanya, Hannah Lowe, Kareem Parkins Brown, Roger Robinson, Jack Underwood and Antosh Wojcik.
The format is simple. The poets will read a poem/piece/prose ‘inspired’ by The College Dropout, and DJ Sid Mercutio plays two of the poet’s favourite songs off the album. Here’s to an evening of nostalgic, no-clutter, no-fuss, straight-up evening listening and dancing, inspired by one of hip hop’s most unforgettable albums.
Doors open at 8.00pm with the event starting at 8.30pm.
Inua Ellams is an internationally touring poet, playwright, performer, graphic artist and designer. He was recently awarded the Liberty Human Rights Award for his one-man show, An Evening with an Immigrant in 2017. His current poetry collection is AFTERHOURS (Nine Arches, 2017). His most recent play is Barbershop Chronicles which ran at the National Theatre.
Theresa Lola is a British Nigerian Poet. She was shortlisted for the 2016 Bridport Poetry Prize and was one of the winners of the 2016 Magic Oxygen Poetry Prize. She is the 2017 Hammer and Tongue National Slam Champion and is a Barbican Young Poet Alumni.
Jasmine Cooray is a poet, facilitator and counsellor from London, of Sri Lankan and mixed European lineage who started out writing angsty poems in her bedroom in purple ink. Now her poems are less angsty and she teaches others to use creative tools to access their internal worlds. Her abstract accolades include: Writer in Residence at the National University of Singapore in 2013, a 2015 BBC Performing Arts Fellow, and now a Spread the Word Associate Writer. To balance her reclusiveness, she does an excellent line in hugs.
Tim Clare is a performance poet based in the UK. He heads up Homework, a regular poetry night in Bethnal Green and has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. As a stand-up poet, Tim has performed nationwide including at the Edinburgh Fringe and countless festivals. The Honours is Clare’s debut novel, set in Norfolk in 1935 as war looms over Great Britain.
Kat Francois is a performance artist, poet, actor and playwright. She also is a youth and adult workshop facilitator. Kat was the first person to win a televised poetry slam in the UK, on BBC3 in 2004, and a year later went on to win the World Slam Poetry Championships in Rotterdam.
Yomi Ṣode balances the fine line between Nigerian and British cultures, which can be humorous, loving, self-reflective and, at times, uncomfortable. Over the past nine years, Yomi has had work commissioned by The Mayor’s Office, BBC World Service/ BBC Africa, Channel4, various charities and recently presented a poem at the UN Humanitarian Summit.
Shadè Joseph is a 24-year-old writer/musician from East London. She has been writing/performing poetry and producing, composing and accompanying musicians singer/songwriters and poets for the past four years. When she’s not doing all of that good stuff she’s probably somewhere laughing, dancing or eating plantain.
Jolade Olusanya is a poet, director and filmmaker based in East London. He is part of SXWKS, a creative collective and a Barbican Young Poet. He was the Outspoken Prize for Poetry and Performance Poetry Winner of 2017 and a finalist in the 1st ever Young Poet Laureate for London post in 2013. He is currently working on his debut poetry collection, poetry films and a variety of other creative projects.
Hannah Lowe is a poet and researcher. Her first poetry collection Chick (Bloodaxe, 2013) won the Michael Murphy Memorial Award for Best First Collection. She has also published three chapbooks: The Hitcher (Rialto 2012); R x (sine wave peak) 2013); and Ormonde (Hercules Editions 2014) and a family memoir Long Time No See (Periscope, 2015). She teaches Creative Writing at Brunel University and is the current poet in residence at Keats House.
Kareem Brown was a Barbican Young Poet from 2012–2015, and has since has worked with the Barbican, Tate Britain, The Southbank Centre, and others. He’s still trying to find a good answer to ‘So, what do you write about?’
Roger Robinson released an album with Disrupt on every reggae lovers favourite label Jahtari in 2015 and is a founding member of King Midas Sound. He has performed worldwide and is an experienced workshop leader and lecturer on poetry. He was chosen by Decibel as one of 50 writers who have influenced the black-British writing canon. He received commissions from The National Trust, London Open House, The V&A and Theatre Royal Stratford East where he also was Associate Artist.
Jack Underwood is a poet, who also writes short fiction and non-fiction. A recipient of the Eric Gregory Award in 2007, he published his debut pamphlet in 2009 as part of the Faber New Poets series. His first collection Happiness was published by Faber in 2015 and was winner of the 2016 Somerset Maugham prize. He is a lecturer in creative writing at Goldsmiths College and is currently writing a non-fiction book about poetry and uncertainty. Two pamphlets, Solo for Mascha Voice and Tenuous Rooms will be published by Test Centre in 2018.
Antosh Wojcik is a poet, performer and Lecturer of Poetry and Creative Writing at University of Winchester. He is one half of Post Everything, a sound art duo. Penned in the Margins is producing his cross-arts drumming and poetry show about memory, How To Keep Time: A Drum Solo for Dementia.