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Say hello to the Class of 2020

Alexa Patrick


Alexa Patrick is a singer and poet from Connecticut. She is a graduate of American University, where she studied Psychology, African-American and African Diaspora Studies, and Spanish. Alexa is a Cave Canem Fellow, and holds teaching positions through Split This Rock, The University of the District of Columbia, and the Center for Creative Youth at Wesleyan University. She has also coached the slam teams of American University and George Washington University for the College Union Poetry Slam Invitational. You may find Alexa’s work published in CRWN Magazine and The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic. Alexa hosts Open Mic Night every fourth Monday at Busboys and Poets Shirlington.

Amílcar Sanatan


Amílcar Peter Sanatan is a PhD. candidate in Cultural Studies at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus. His poetry has appeared in Caribbean and international literary magazines. In 2020, his creative non-fiction was shortlisted for the Johnson and Amoy Achong Prize for Caribbean Writers. He has performed spoken word poetry and coordinated open mics in Trinidad and Tobago for over a decade.

Abena Essah Bediako


Abena is an upcoming poet, musician and model from North London. A member of the Roundhouse Poetry Collective. winner of the November and December 2018 Some-Antics Slams and the subsequent Championship Slam. In 2019, she was commissioned to write and perform at Leicester’s Festival2Funky and also took part in the POW! showcase for young LGBTQ+ creatives. She also made it to the finals for the London Roundhouse Poetry Slam 2019 finals.

Aaron El Sabrout


Aaron El Sabrout is a transgender Egyptian writer, artist & activist currently living on unceded Stz'uminus territory ('B.C, Canada'). His work has been published in Mud Season Review, Split Lip Magazine, and the Texas Poetry Review, among others. His work has also been featured in The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 3: Halal if You Hear Me, and We Want It All: A Radical Anthology of Trans Poetics. When you read this, he will be out planting seeds for collective liberation.

Ariana Benson


Ariana Benson is a poet from Chesapeake, Virginia. She holds an MA in Poetic Practice from Royal Holloway, University of London, where she studied as a Marshall Scholar. She won the 2021 Graybeal Gowen Poetry Prize, and was a finalist for the 2020 Auburn Witness Poetry Prize and the 2021 Pink Poetry Prize. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in Shenandoah, West Branch, Lunch Ticket, Southern Humanities Review, Obsidian and elsewhere. She is a 2021 Tin House Workshop Participant and has received support from the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers Conference, Palm Beach Poetry Festival, Indiana University Writers Conference and others. Ariana is the Nonfiction Editor of Auburn Avenue, a magazine dedicated to publishing work by writers of color with a particular focus on American Southern culture, and is a 2021 Helen Degen Cohen Summer Reading Fellow with RHINO poetry. Ariana’s work often interrogates questions of language, environmental concerns, and the connection between African Diasporic peoples and the natural landscape.

Tanatsei Gambura


Tanatsei Gambura is a poet and cultural practitioner. She is the author of Things I Have Forgotten Before, her debut pamphlet by Bad Betty Press. Her work explores the possibilities of re-memory and healing in the aftermath of individual, familial, national and collective trauma.

Tanatsei is the runner-up to the inaugural Amsterdam Open Book Prize (2020), a Rebecca Swift Foundation Women Poets' Prize longlistee (2020), and a recipient of the Library Of Africa and The African Diaspora (LOATAD) and Savannah Center for Contemporary Art (SCCA) Writing Residency (2021).

Poems of hers appear in Prufrock Magazine, the London Reader, New Coin Poetry Journal, Poetry London, and forthcoming in Best New British and Irish Poets 2021. She is an alumnus of the British Council residency, "These Images are Stories", the inaugural Obsidian Foundation Writer's Retreat, and the Writerz & Scribez Griot's Well residency.

Amina Jama


a writer, curator, producer, facilitator and all round empath, with a focus on creating and maintaining safe spaces for my fellow black beauts. I’m London based and more Somali than British. A Barbican Young Poets programme, and member of the Octavia WOC Poetry Collective, and a co-host/producer for Boxedin. She published her debut poetry pamphlet, A Warning To The House That Holds Me, with Flipped Eye Press.

Raina León


Raina J. León, PhD is Black, Afro-Boricua, and from Philadelphia. She is a mother, daughter, sister, madrina, comadre, partner, poet, writer, and teacher educator. She believes in collective action and community work, the profound power of holding space for the telling of our stories, and the liberatory practice of humanizing education.

She seeks out communities of care and craft and is a member of the Carolina African American Writers Collective, Cave Canem, CantoMundo, Macondo, and Círculo de Poetas and Writers. She is the author of three collections of poetry, Canticle
of Idols, Boogeyman Dawn, and sombra: dis(locate) and the chapbooks, profeta without refuge and Areyto to Atabey: Essays on the Mother(ing) Self.

She also is a founding editor of The Acentos Review, an online quarterly, international journal devoted to the promotion and publication of Latinx arts. She educates our present and future agitators/educators as a full professor of education at Saint Mary’s College of California.

Shanay Neusum-James


Shanay Neusum-James is an actress, poet and theatre maker based in South London. She has performed at an array of theatre venues such as The RSC Stratford, Brighton Fringe Festival and The Southwark Playhouse. She is an alumna of the BBC Words First Scheme and the Roundhouse Poetry Collective 19/21. She was published in Eastsides’ I Know I Wish I Will 2019 Anthology and in fourteenpoems journal. Her play BOG was performed as a part of the Croydon Emerging Writer’s Programme with Disentangled Productions and she was a recipient of the Future is Black: Black Teachers Edition programme. Her work explores blackness, queerness and mental health. Shanay is currently directing Reece Lyons in her show LILITH and she is a staff writer at sweet-thang zine. Her forthcoming debut pamphlet will be published with Bad Betty Press in 2022.

Jay Bernard


Jay Bernard is a writer from London. Their first collection, Surge, won the Ted Hughes Award 2017 and the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award. Jay’s work is multi-disciplinary, moving across film, sound and performance; they are a film programmer at the BFI and have had several works performed at venues across London.

Saddiq Dzukogi


Saddiq Dzukogi is a Nigerian poet living in Lincoln, Nebraska. His poetry collection Your Crib, My Qibla (University of Nebraska Press 2021) was named one of 29 of the best poetry collections by Oprah Daily. His chapbook Inside the Flower Room was selected by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani for APBF New Generation African Poets Chapbook Series. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in POETRY, Kenyon Review, Oxford Poetry, The Cincinnati Review, Wild Court, Poetry Society of America, Prairie Schooner, and other literary journals and magazines. He was a finalist of Brunel International African Poetry Prize and a recipient of fellowships and Grants from Nebraska Arts Council, Pen America, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he is a Ph.D. student and serves as an Assistant Poetry Editor for Prairie Schooner.

Courtney Conrad


Courtney Conrad is a Jamaican poet. She is a current member of Malika's Poetry Kitchen. She is an alumna of the Obsidian Foundation, Roundhouse Poetry Collective, BBC Words First Scheme and Poet in the City Producer Programme. She was the Roundhouse Slam 2018 runner-up and a BBC Fringe Slam finalist in 2019. She has competed internationally in Philadelphia at CUPSI 2018. Her poems have appeared in Bad Betty Press’ ‘Field Notes on Survival’ anthology, Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal, The White Review and The Lumiere Review with forthcoming poems in Anthropocene Poetry Journal and Anamot Press Anthology. She was shortlisted for The White Review Poet's Prize 2020 and Poetry London’s Mentoring Scheme and longlisted for the Rebecca Swift Women Poets’ Prize 2020 and The Rialto Nature and Place Poetry Competition. She has been a featured poet at Glastonbury Festival, StAnza Scotland's International Poetry Festival, UKNA City Takeover Festival, Stay at Home Festival and Brainchild Festival. Her poetry explores the intersectional politics of race, religion, gender, sexuality and migration.

Keith Jarrett


Keith is a writer and educator of Jamaican heritage. His work interrogates Black British history, religion and sexuality. Selah, his debut poetry collection, was published in 2017. Keith is a UK and international poetry slam champion, with bilingual performances in Bilbao, Madrid and beyond. His poem, ‘From the Log Book’, was projected onto the façade of St. Paul’s Cathedral and broadcast as a commemorative art installation in 2019. His play, Safest Spot in Town, was performed at the Old Vic and aired on BBC Four.

Keith was selected for the International Literary Showcase as one of 10 outstanding LGBT writers in the UK. He has judged the Polari Prize, the Foyle Young Poets Award, and the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Keith is completing his first novel and teaches at Birkbeck University in London, where he completed his PhD studentship in 2020.

Desree Gumbs-Carty


Desree is an award-winning spoken word artist, writer and facilitator based in London and Slough. Artist in Residence for poetry collective EMPOWORD, and an Obsidian Foundation Alumni, Desree explores intersectionality, justice and social commentary. Desree is also the producer for both Word Up! and Word Of Mouth LDN, a TEDx speaker, and has featured at events around the UK and internationally, including Glastonbury Festival 2019, Royal Albert Hall and Bowery Poetry New York. She is also the author of I Find My Strength In Simple Things, published by Burning Eye Books in May 2020.

Degna Stone


Degna Stone is a co-founder and former Managing Editor of Butcher’s Dog, and a Contributing Editor at The Rialto. She has received substantial support from the Peepal Tree/Inscribe writer development programme and is a fellow of The Complete Works. She is an Associate Artist with D6: Culture in Transit and The Poetry Exchange, and the recipient of a prestigious Hawthornden Fellowship.

She received a major Northern Writers Award for her poetry in 2015 and is currently undertaking a PhD in Cultural Studies at Northumbria University.

Her work has appeared in: The Book of Newcastle (Comma Press), Ten: Poets of the New Generation and A Mighty Stream (Bloodaxe), Writing Motherhood (Seren), Urban Myths and Legends and Some Cannot Be Caught (The Emma Press), Crossings (Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts) and Filigree (Peepal Tree Press).

Her third pamphlet Handling Stolen Goods (Peepal Tree) explores issues of race and class, and her latest Weighing of the Heart (Blueprint) explores illness and love in the early years of a marriage.

Thembe Mvula


Thembe Mvula is a South African writer and poet; an alum of the Roundhouse Poetry Collective, Barbican Young Poets and the inaugural Obsidian Foundation retreat. Her work often explores relationships, intergenerational trauma, healing, and home. Her debut poetry pamphlet, We that Wither Beneath, was self-published in March 2019 and listed in top 52 books of the year by the Poetry School. She has had work published in The Black Anthology and Magma and is currently undertaking a masters in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford.

Jacqueline Allen Trimble


Jacqueline Allen Trimble is a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow (Poetry), a Cave Canem Fellow and an Alabama State Council on the Arts Literary Fellow. Her work has appeared in various journals, including Poetry Magazine, The Louisville Review, The Offing, and Poet Lore, the anthology The Night’s Magician (Negative Capability Press), a collection of eighty poems by contemporary writers on the moon, and Southern Writers on Writing (University Press of Mississippi), an anthology of twenty-six essays by Southern writers. Published by NewSouth Books, American Happiness, her debut collection, won the 2016 Balcones Poetry Prize. She lives and writes in Montgomery, Alabama, where she is Professor of English and chairs the Department of Languages and Literatures at Alabama State University. Her new collection, How to Survive the Apocalypse, is forthcoming from NewSouth Books in April 2022.

Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa


Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa is a British born Barbadian raised interdisciplinary poet, chiefly using movement to compose her work on the page and stage. Safiya is an Obsidian Foundation fellow and Apples & Snakes l Jerwood Arts Poetry in Performance recipient. Her notable commissions include writing for English Heritage, BBC Bitesize and The Wailers. In 2019 Safiya won national slam championships including the BBC Edinburgh Fringe. In 2020 she was awarded The New Voice in Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the Out-Spoken Page Poetry Prize and Creative Future Writer’s Award. She is currently working on her first full length poetry collection.

Candice Nembhard


Candice Nembhard is a writer, poet, artist-curator and producer based between Birmingham and Berlin. They are an Obsidian Foundation Fellow and alum of Activation Residency (New York). Candice is the founder of the the queer film series ALL FRUITS RIPE, co-producer of the poetry and hip-hop event The R.A.P Party Berlin and initiator of the digital platform okcandice archive.
Candice’s writing has appeared in Frieze, Bath Magg, thisistomorrow, Berlin Art Link, Poetry London, Domicilium, and elsewhere. Their film and performance work have appeared at Birmingham Hippodrome, BOZAR (Brussels), Hebbel Am Ufer Theatre (Berlin) and Kunstverein (Hamburg) among others. Under the moniker okcandice, Candice explores a multidisciplinary practice using sound, music, moving image, text, performance and visual archives.
Candice holds a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. They are currently an artist-curator at Eastside Projects, Birmingham.

Roy McFarlane


Roy McFarlane is a Poet, Playwright and former Youth & Community Worker born in Birmingham of Jamaican parentage spending most of his years living in Wolverhampton and the Black Country. He’s held the role of Birmingham Poet Laureate, Starbucks Poet in Residence and is currently the Birmingham & Midlands Institute Poet in Residence. Also, an Ambit and Poetry Wales Competition winner.His debut collection, Beginning With Your Last Breath, was followed by The Healing Next Time, (Nine Arches Press 2018) nominated for the Ted Hughes award and Jhalak Prize. Roy has an MA in Writing Poetry from Newcastle University and the Poetry School and presently working on his third collection with Nine Arches Press coming out Spring 2022

Essah Cozett


Essah Cozett is a Liberian-American poet, organizer, and PhD candidate specializing in Literature and Language of the English-speaking Caribbean at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. Currently, she is serving her second term as Chair of the Caribbean Without Borders Graduate Student Conference. Her writing has appeared in several international print and online publications.

Mansa Lamont Bey


Mansa Lamont Bey (Formerly Damien Ware)
Moorish American Poet and Writer, Mansa Lamont Bey (formerly known as D.L.Ware) is a Literary Artist serving Southeast Cleveland’s Buckeye, Woodland Hills, and Mt. Pleasant neighborhoods. With a background in Social Work and Africana Studies, Mansa Lamont Bey has dedicated his life to merging the Literary Arts with Social Activism in using creative writing as a conduit of personal, community and social change. As the founder and owner of Grio Roots & Culture Desktop Publishing L.L.C., Mansa L. Bey facilitates and hosts the Read. Write. Recite Literacy Guild, a creative writing initiative designed to address the issues of illiteracy and adult learning.

Isabelle Baafi


Isabelle Baafi is a writer and poet from London. Her debut pamphlet, Ripe (ignitionpress, 2020), was the Poetry Book Society’s Pamphlet Choice for Spring 2021. She was the winner of the 2019 Vincent Cooper Literary Prize, and was shortlisted for the 2021 Brunel International African Poetry Prize, the 2020 Bridport Prize for Poetry, and the 2019 Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition. Her poems have been published in The Poetry Review, Magma, Anthropocene, and elsewhere. She is also a Ledbury Poetry Critic, and a Board Member at Magma. She is currently writing her debut poetry collection.

Esther Kondo Heller


Esther Kondo Heller - She/They Kondo Heller is a poet, writer, Ledbury Critic, and experimental poetry filmmaker. They are an incoming Cornell University MFA Poetry student and have performed their poetry amongst other places at the Roundhouse, APT Gallery, and the Barbican. They also co-host a monthly radio show called Poetic Healing with Zen and Kondo on THFradio.

Zakia Carpenter-Hall


Zakia Carpenter-Hall is a writer, tutor and critic. She has an MFA in Creative Writing (Distinction) from Kingston University in London. Her poems have appeared in Callaloo, Magma, Wild Court, 3:AM and various visual poetry exhibitions. She was an inaugural winner of Poetry London's mentoring scheme and her chapbook Event Horizon was published by Sampson Low. Her poetry reviews and essays have been published by Poetry London, the Poetry School, Wild Court and in three consecutive issues of The Poetry Review. She is a 2020 Jerwood Bursary Recipient, London Library Emerging Writer and was shortlisted for The Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize. Additionally, her approach to teaching and course design has gained the interest of Airbnb Experience and BBC Radio where she was interviewed about her course ‘Awakening the Writer Within’. She’s currently teaching ‘Myth, Body, Belief (Summer 2021)’ at the Poetry School.

Dorsía Smith Silva


Dorsía Smith Silva is a Pushcart Prize nominee and Full Professor of English at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in The minnesota review, Poetry Northwest, Superstition Review, Porter House Review, Portland Review, Pidgeonholes, and elsewhere. She is also the author of Good Girl (poetry micro-chapbook), editor of Latina/Chicana Mothering, and the co-editor of six books. In addition, her poetry will appear as a part of the Atlantic City Poetry Walk with the Noyes Museum of Art in the summer of 2021. She recently attended the Looking Glass Rock Writers’ Conference and will attend the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Workshop and the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop in the summer of 2021. She has a Ph.D. in Caribbean Literature and posts at @DSmithSilva

Kojo Apeagyei


Kojo Apeagyei (he/him) A multidisciplinary artist, Kojo Apeagyei is a writer, photographer, actor and events producer from London. As a writer, he centres investigative journalism, and poetry - finding that the two often masquerade as each other. Kojo's experimental approach explores memory, truth, and irony to discover evocative experiences which land somewhere between prose and poetry.

An Obsidian Foundation Fellow, an alum of the 2018 Arvon writers retreat and 2017 Apples and Snakes Writers Room, Kojo was also nominated for the Young People's Laureate for London in 2018. He formerly produced and hosted the monthly poetry night, Pen-Ting Poetry – with a sold out run of 11 shows and has featured at places such as the Battersea Arts Centre and Neverworld festival.

Clementine E Burnley


Clementine E Burnley is a feminist migrant writer, Obsidian Foundation poet and facilitator. She’s been shortlisted for the Bristol Short Story Prize, Amsterdam Open Book Prize, the First Pages Prize and was selected for Chimamanda N. Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus Trust Workshop. In 2021 her work was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She’s also a 2021 Edwin Morgan Second Life Grantee. Her work has appeared in Emma Press’ Anthology of Britain, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Parabola Magazine and The Centifictionist.

Topher Allen


Topher Allen is a Poet and Fiction writer from Clarendon, Jamaica. His work explores the Jamaican geography, and the island’s cultural and historical experience. He was a featured poet for the British Council’s project, “Unwritten Poems: Exploring Caribbean Engagement in WW1.” Topher has also featured at Rebel Women Lit’s Poetry Festival as well as the Kingston Art Walk.

Allen’s work has appeared in Montreal Writes, Santa Ana River Review, Pree, The Caribbean Writer, Poetry London, Ambit and is forthcoming in Miss Lou 100 Plus Voices. He received the 2019 Poet Laureate of Jamaica: Louise Bennett-Coverley Prize for Poetry. Allen’s Poet Laureate Prize winning poems appear in the anthology New Voices: Selected by Lorna Goodison.

Asmaa Jama


Asmaa Jama is a Danish-born Somali poet and multidisciplinary artist. Asmaa is a Danish-born Somali poet and multidisciplinary artist. Their work has been published in print and online, in places like The Good Journal, Popshot Magazine, Ambit, Sawti and ANMLY.

Joladae Olusanya


I'm a writer, photographer and director. Also a freelance director at SXWKS and Rxnin Co, as well as a creative mentor and poet. ... Clients include: Red Bull Music, Columbia Records, Pantene, Google, Expedia, BET, Canon and many more.

Fahad Al-Amoudi


Fahad Al-Amoudi is a poet of Ethiopian and Yemeni heritage based in London. His work is published in Poetry London, bath magg, the Gentian and Ink Sweat and Tears. He is a Roundhouse Slam 2019 finalist, graduate of the Writing Squad, member of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen and is the current editing intern for Ink Sweat and Tears.

Adam Lowe


Adam Lowe is the UK's LGBT+ History Month Poet Laureate and Yorkshire's Olympic Poet for 2012. He is a writer, educator, publisher and performer from Leeds, though he currently lives on t'other side of the Pennines, in Manchester. Adam has taught at the University of Leeds and the University of Central Lancashire, and has worked with The Poetry School and English PEN. He was named one of the '20 best writers under 40' in Leeds for the LS13 Awards and his chapbook Precocious (Dog Horn Publishing, 2012) was a reader nomination for the Guardian First Book Prize. He was a finalist for the Venture Poetry Awards, Eric Hoffer Award and Lambda Literary Awards, and was selected as one of 10 advanced poets for The Complete Works II programme, where he was mentored by Next Generation poet Patience Agbabi. The Complete Works was managed by Nathalie Teitler and founded by Bernardine Evaristo. His fiction novellas include Monster (Dead Ink, 2013) and Troglodyte Rose (Cadaverine

Len Lawson


Len Lawson is the author of Chime (Get Fresh Books, 2019) and the chapbook Before the Night Wakes You (Finishing Line Press, 2017). He is also co-editor of Hand in Hand: Poets Respond to Race (Muddy Ford Press, 2017) and The Future of Black: Afrofuturism, Black Comics, and Superhero Poetry (Blair Press, 2021). His poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. He has earned fellowships from Tin House, Palm Beach Poetry Festival, Callaloo, Vermont Studio Center, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts among others. His poetry appears in African American Review, Callaloo, Mississippi Review, Ninth Letter, Verse Daily, and has been translated internationally. In 2021, Len completes a PhD in English Literature and Criticism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and begins as Assistant Professor of English at Newberry College.

Samatar Elmi


Samatar Elmi - he/him Samatar is a poet, PhD candidate and educator. His writing plays in the liminal spaces between racial, socio-cultural and political identity claims. He has been shortlisted for the Venture Award and is a graduate of the Young Inscribe Mentoring Program. Poems have appeared in Poetry Review, Magma, Iota, Ink Sweat and Tears, Myths of the Near Future, Scarf, the Echoing Gallery, and the Cadaverine. Samatar’s ‘Portrait of Colossus’ (flipped eye 2021) was selected as the Poetry Book Society (PBS) Summer 2021 Pamphlet Choice. As a musician he releases under the Knomad Spock moniker. His critically acclaimed debut album ‘Winter of Discontent’ has been widely played on national and international radio.

Assumpta Victu


Writer - Event Planner/ Floral Designer - Founder & Creative Director at AVE Creations. Assumpta is a writer, poet, blogger and storyteller born in Nigeria and raised in London where she now lives with her husband. She received her LLM in Law from Coventry University and her MA in Creative and Professional Writing from Brunel University. Assumpta's work centers on love, loss and deracination.

Peter deGraft-Johnson


Peter deGraft-Johnson is The Repeat Beat Poet, a London-based poet and emcee who fuses stream-of-consciousness writing and Hip Hop culture to capture and extend moments of time, thought, and feeling.
The Repeat Beat Poet has performed across the country and internationally, with appearances at The Royal Albert Hall, the Edinburgh Fringe, Spoken Word Paris, and he is a multiple slam champion (including the Genesis Slam and Hammer And Tongue) and the reigning Nozslam Champion. Peter also regularly produces & hosts the monthly spoken word nights Boomerang, and Pen-Ting, and his own Hip Hop & spoken word radio show, #TheRepeatBeatBroadcast. His debut poetry show D.O.W.N (Deconstructing Overarching Whiteness Now) will be performed in Winter 2018.
Peter is also a creative entrepreneur, journalist, and presenter; co-founding The PAD in 2014, a grassroots creative platform, arts venue and recording studio, and has written regularly for The Prince Charles Cinema with bylines in TimeOut London and The BFI. Peter continues his work in the film industry as an assistant director for the Chelmsford Film Festival, and can also be found co-hosting the British Podcast Award-nominated Lunar Poetry Podcast or presenting the poetry discussion series #LetsTalkAbout on UK Spoken Word YouTube channel, Process Productions.

Reece Williams


Reece Williams is a graduate with a 2:1 BA (Hons) in Music, Theatre and Entertainment Management at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA). His main areas of interest are literature and theatre and he has a broad understanding of law, finance and project administration. He has extensive experience as a writer, performer and project administrator, having joined Manchester-based poetry collective Young Identity in 2007 and becoming the Project Administrator in 2008-a role which he currently occupies. Reece is passionate about youth engagement, cultural policy and race relations in addition to peer mentoring and the advocacy of active citizenship through the arts. He is a Trustee at Contact (The Manchester Young Peoples’ Theatre Trust), an organisation dedicated to the engagement of young people through the arts, serving on the Artistic Evaluation Group.

Rohan Ayinde


Rohan Ayinde is an interdisciplinary poet based in London and often working in Chicago. His work is centred around creating "otherwise" potentials (Ashon Crawley), and in so doing breaking down and simultaneously reconfiguring the ideological architectures that shape our daily and generational lives. The landscapes his work explores are formed through the lens of a black radical tradition committed to imagining freedom as a horizon of possibility. They are an archive of the journey there; maps under continuous construction; refusals to acquiesce to the dominant structures of thought that frame the world we live in.

Oscillating between poetry, photography, video, drawings, and curatorial projects, Ayinde’s work is in a constant negotiation with itself, trying to understand the role it plays in building the worlds it is invested in imagining. Most recently, his work is shaped by a dance around the possibility opened up by the logics of black holes, specifically when read in conversation with the historical and material conditions of blackness.

Rohan Ayinde is one half of the wayward/motile collaborative duo, with friend/producer/dancer Yewande YoYo Odunubi. He received his MA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2019). He is a curatorial fellow with ACRE projects, and has curated shows at Blanc Gallery (Chicago), ACRE Projects (Chicago) and NOW Gallery (London).

Ayinde’s work exists in many places, both fleeting and permanent

Be Manzini


Referred to as ‘the film-poet’, Be Manzini has found ways to uniquely combine her passion for poetry, film and wellbeing. She is the first ever writer-in- residence for Sundance, poet-on-tour with various films, poet on the Mark Kermode MK3D live show and writing facilitator for Virgin Sport. Known for her ability to create universal and nurturing spaces and be a key part of the international exchange programme for the London Teenage Poetry Slam. A writer who has been resident at the Southbank Centre, and as a speaker and regular panelist at events for television, radio and institutions such as the BFI. Manzini is also the Director of Caramel Film Club, spot-lighting Black talent and supporting diversity in film. Find her and her work on social media via the handles

Elontra Hall


Elontra Hall is teacher and poet based in Northampton.

Nile Lansana


Nile Lansana is a writer from the South Side of Chicago. He is a recipient of the First Wave scholarship program and an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, double majoring in Journalism and Creative Writing. He won the Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award in 2018. His work
as a poet, journalist, and teaching artist are centered around empowering youth and sharing important narratives of the people and principles he holds dear, many of which come from his Chicago upbringing.

Ruth Awolola


Ruth Awolola is a student, youth worker and poet currently based in south-east London. She was born in 1998 and has been writing since 2015, when she was a winner of the SLAMbassadors UK national youth slam. She is studying English Literature and Education, with the intention of becoming a full-time educator. She is one of 5 poets who is included in Rising Stars: New Young Voices in Poetry which is was highly commended at the CLiPPA 2018 .

Sea Sharp


Sea Sharp is a British-American poet, performer, and playwright whose work explores themes of home, trauma, identity, and anything else that makes them feel uncomfortable. They are the author of 'Black Cotton' (Waterloo Press, 2019) and of the Prairie Seed Poetry Prize-winning book, 'The Swagger of Dorothy Gale & Other Filthy Ways to Strut' (Ice Cube Press, 2017).

Keri Mosuro


Keri Mosuro is a bubbly 18 year old Nigerian actress who lives in Kent with her family. When she’s not acting, you can find her hosting fundraising events, travelling, and meeting new people. She has an adventurous spirit and is excited to see what her future holds.

Robert Gibbons


Floridian, came to New York City in 2007 in search of his muse Langston Hughes and found a vibrant contemporary poetry community at the Cornelia Street Cafe, the Green Pavilion, Nomad's Choir, Brownstone Poets, Hydrogen JukeBox, Saturn Series, and Phoenix among other venues.
He is an Obsidian Fellow (2020) He is a Cave Canem Fellow (2019-2021) and has received residencies from the Norman Mailer Foundation (2017) and the DISQUIET International Literary Program (2018). In 2018 he completed his MFA at City College.
Robert has been published in over thirty literary magazines and in several notable anthologies. Recent publication credits include Peregrine, Expound, Promethean, Turtle Island Quarterly, Killer Whale, and Suisun Valley Review, and the Bronx Memoir Project: Vol. 2 published by the Bronx Council of the Arts.

Robert's first collection, Close to the Tree, published by Three Rooms Press (2012). His chapbook, Flight, published by Poets Wear Prada (2019) You Almost Home, boy, published by Harlequin Creatures (2019) with Brooklyn based artist, Amy Williams, “Some Little Words” published 440 Gallery, Brooklyn (2021)

Merrie Joy Williams


Merrie Joy Williams is a poet, novelist, writing tutor, and editor of prose and poetry anthologies. She was shortlisted for the 2020 Bridport Prize, longlisted for the 2020 National Poetry Competition, and is a winner of The Poetry Archive’s ‘Wordview 2020’ competition, permanently featured on their website. She is the recipient of a London Writers’ Award, Arts Council England awards for poetry and fiction, and a Hawthornden fellow.

She has been Writer-in-Residence for MMU Special Collections & Manchester Poetry Library, and in 2021 Applause Rural Touring and Historic England, both of which are available as podcasts. She was Lead Facilitator of the fiction project, ‘WRITTEN’, which partnered with Arvon to organise a national residential for debut writers of colour.

Merrie has appeared at The Southbank Festival, The Seren Cardiff Poetry Festival, for ONCA with kin’d & kin’d discussing form and eco-poetics, and on BBC Radio. Poems and reviews have been published in Poetry Wales, Pree Lit, The Good Journal, The Interpreter’s House, Writing in Education, and elsewhere. Her debut collection is ‘Open Windows’ (Waterloo, 2019), of which Magma Poetry wrote: ‘She is clearly good at her craft. Her writing is assured, driven by sonorous language’.

Roman Johnson


Roman Johnson is a poet and writer from Memphis, TN. He has a PhD in Medical Sociology Sociology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and obtained his undergraduate degree in Political Science from Morehouse College. He is a finalist for the 2021 Bellingham Review 49th Parallel Award for Poetry, is a past winner of the Clark Atlanta University Poetry Prize and has received fellowships from Breadloaf, Tin House, the Writers’ Studio, Martha Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing, the Palm Beach Literary Festival, and the Watering Hole. His work can be found in Obsidian and African Voices Magazine.