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Say hello to the Class of 2023

Malik Thompson


Malik Thompson is a Black queer man from Washington, DC. His work is featured in MQR Mixtape, Voicemail Poems, Poet Lore, and other places. He has received support from Lambda Literary, Obsidian Foundation, Brooklyn Poets, Cave Canem, and other organizations.

Photo credit: Beth Stover

Courtney Conrad


Courtney Conrad is a Jamaican poet. She is an Eric Gregory Award winner and a Bridport Prize Young Writers Award recipient. She was shortlisted for The White Review Poet's Prize, Manchester Poetry Prize, Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition, Mslexia’s Women’s Poetry Prize, Aesthetica Creative Writing Award’s Poetry Prize and the Poetry Wales Pamphlet competition. She was longlisted for the National Poetry Competition, Rebecca Swift Women Poets’ Prize and The Rialto Nature and Place Poetry Competition.

Her poems have appeared in Magma Poetry, Poetry Wales, The White Review, Stand Magazine, Poetry Review, Bath Magg and Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal. Her work has been anthologised by Anamot Press, Bridport Prize, Re.creation, Peekash Press, Bad Betty Press and Flipped Eye Press. She is an alumna of The London Library Emerging Writers Programme, Malika's Poetry Kitchen, Barbican Young Poets, Obsidian Foundation Retreat, Griots Well Collective and Roundhouse Poetry Collective.

She has performed at Glastonbury Festival, Brainchild Festival and UKYA City Takeover. Commissioned by the Museum of London, Guildhall, Institute of Contemporary Arts, Victoria & Albert Museum, Tate Britain, The African Centre, BBC 1Xtra and Spread the Word.

Photo credit: Deepthi Muralibabu

David Odiase


David Osaodion Odiase, also known as "The 78th psalmist" is a storyteller and history enthusiast who tells conscious African stories through poetry, performance art, film, docu-poetry, and experimental art forms, with the intent of promoting historical and cultural literacy.
His poetry films and docu-poetry have made official selections at international film festivals such as the African International film festival held in Nigeria, Zebra Poetry Festival, in Germany, Festival del Cinema di Cefalù, Italy, the Panama series festival and most recently Silicon Valley African Film festival in San Jose California.

David has also graced platforms such as the Lagos International Poetry Festival, Performed at the Oceanside Theatre San Diego in the USA (virtual), the Green Economy and Environmental Summit at the Nigerian Climate Innovation Center, and the commissioning of the African Quality Assurance Centre amongst others.

A 2023 Alumni of Obsidian Foundation Poetry Retreat, He has been a top ten entrant of the Nigerian students' poetry prize in 2016, a recipient of the Ekonke African Storytellers prize in 2020, a contributor to the West-Africa to West Oakland poetry exchange in 2021, 1st runner-up GoNigeria Poetry Challenge in 2022 and amongst others, emerged Winner of the Lacasera National Poetry slam competition - Spoken Wars, 2022.

He is currently the community manager of TrueMyVoice, a literary community of over 500 storytellers (poets) across Nigeria, where he helps groom them in applying their art, as a tool for advocacy and social change.

Johanna Gibson


Johanna Gibson is a writer from the Virgin Islands (U.K.). She has previously been published in Moko Magazine and Pree Lit. She was shortlisted for the Bocas Emerging Writer’s Fellowship 2022.

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 and studies 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 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 first full length poetry collection Patterflash (Peepal Tree Press, 2023) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for Summer 2023. The book was completed as a result of Obsidian. He is currently studying for a PhD in poetry at the University of Manchester.

Photo credit: Drew Wilby

Najya Williams


Born and raised in Chocolate City, Najya Williams (she/her) is a multidisciplinary artist and performer. Her poetry, essays, and other writings have been accepted and/or published by several entities, including POETRY Magazine, Black Youth Project, ForHarriet, We are the 94 Percent, Spoken Black Girl, Miss Millennia Mag, Black Girls in Om and Healing Points. You can access her debut poetry chapbook: Cotton, spoken word album: "mad black woman," and original short films via her website, Looking ahead, Najya remains committed to changing hearts and minds across the world, one word at a time.

Photo credit: Hakeem Angulu

Simeon Pereira-Madder


Sim Pereira-Madder is a British born poet of mixed Brazilian/British heritage based in London. His work centres otherness, experimental form and the domestic realm. A recent Obsidian Foundation alum he is preparing work towards a first pamphlet.

Lauren Bullock


Lauren Bullock is a queer, genderfluid Black and Vietnamese writer, performer, and teacher. Lauren’s work has been featured by, Button Poetry, The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, The Human Rights Campaign, and more. Lauren is a Kundiman, Watering Hole, Pink Door, and Obsidian Foundation fellow as well as a Susan Laughter Meyers and Furious Flower Poetry Prize finalist. An educator of over 10 years, Lauren currently teaches middle school Language Arts and World Cultures in North Carolina. When not creating Lauren enjoys fighting crime as a costumed vigilante of many aliases.

Photo credit: Cokes Media

Francis-Xavier Mukiibi


Francis-Xavier Mukiibi is a poet, performer and facilitator of Ugandan heritage from North London. He is an alumnus of the Barbican Young Poets programme, the Roundhouse Poetry Collective and Obsidian Foundation retreat.

He was a finalist of BBC Words First in 2020 and is a multi-UniSlam finalist as a performer and coach, winning the UniSlam Coach’s Slam in 2023.

He has performed his poetry on BBC Radio and iPlayer and has also featured in various creative arts festivals throughout London and the Midlands, including Festival2Funky in Leicester, the Camden Inspire Festival, and the Roundhouse Last Word Festival.

His poetry appears in Ink Sweat & Tears, Zindabad Zine and Under the Radar by Nine Arches Press.

Photo credit: Nneka Otigbah

Thembe Mvula


Thembe Mvula is a South African/British writer and poet. She is an alum of the Obsidian Foundation, Barbican Young Poets and the Roundhouse Poetry Collective. Thembe has headlined nationally and internationally, including at Tate Lates, Oslo Afro Arts festival and has featured at Latitude festival. Her poetry has been anthologised in Part of a Story That Started Before Me (Penguin Random House, 2023), Before Them, We (Flipped Eye Publishing, 2022), The Black Anthology (10:10 Press, 2021) and appears in Magma magazine issues 77 and 83 and Rowayat. She recently completed a masters in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford, specialising in screenwriting.

Photo credit: Feruza Afewerki

Georgio Russell


Georgio Russell is a Bahamian writer and an alumnus of the University of the
West Indies, Jamaica. He is a past winner of the Peepal Tree Press Prize (2019), the
Mervyn Morris Prize (2020), and The Editors' Prize for Magma Poetry (2022/23). He was shortlisted for the Frontier OPEN Prize 2022, and long-listed for the National
Poetry Competition (2022) held by the Poetry Society. Russell was a featured poet for the British Council's project, Unwritten Poems: Exploring Caribbean Engagement in WW1." His work has been published in Yolk Literary Magazine, PREE magazine
Frontier Poetry, The London Magazine, Magma and elsewhere. He curently lives in
Brampton, Ontario, where he teaches English for Educate Academy. Some of his
favourite poets include Derek Walcott, Loma Goodison, Ocean Vuong, Jane
Hirshfield, and Roger Reeves.

Hess Love


Hess Love is a poet, archivist, ethnoecologist, storyteller and healing artist. As a co-founder of the Chesapeake Conjure Society, Hess’ creative and community work as a Hoodoo historian lives at the crossroads of culture and environment. Their stories are rooted in folklore, communal ways of knowing, intimate politics, and the place-based practices around the Chesapeake Bay. Hess is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at Wilkes University, and pursuing certification as a Master Naturalist.

Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa


Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa is a British born Barbadian raised choreo-poet and PhD student at the University of Leeds in Cultural Studies. Her interdisciplinary art, braids dance and poetry.
Safiya is an Obsidian Foundation alumni and an Apples & Snakes/ Jerwood Arts Poetry in Performance recipient. Her work has appeared in a variety of journals including Poetry London, Poetry Review and The Caribbean Writer. Her debut poetry collection Cane, Corn & Gully (Out-Spoken Press) arrived in November 2022. Cane, Corn & Gully was been shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize and won Barbados’ Gine On People’s Choice Book of The Year Award.

Tangie Mitchell


Tangie Mitchell (she/her) is a poet, editor, and collage artist from Fayetteville, North Carolina. Her current manuscript is an ekphrastic mediation on Black American girlhood as a vehicle to discuss (and complicate) notions of citizenship, Americanness, tradition, and belonging. Writing about Black, southern, and working-class life, her work has been featured or is forthcoming in Obsidian: Literature and Arts in the African Diaspora, Exposition Review, Aunt Chloe: A Journal of Artful Candor, and more. A Watering Hole Poetry Fellow, she has received support from the Cave Canem Foundation, the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, the Sundress Academy for the Arts, Murphy Writing at Stockton University, and other art institutions. She lives in Harlem, New York.

Kenny Carroll


Kenny Carroll is a writer from DC. He was the 2017 DC Youth Poet Laureate, and in 2019 received the Thomas Lux Scholarship from Sarah Lawrence. His work has been featured in Split This Rock’s The Quarry, The Hill Rag, and Beltway Quarterly, among others. He is a Watering Hole and Obsidian fellow, as well as a teacher for students from middle school to college.

Nadia Burgher


Nadia Burgher (Pronounced Burjher) is an emerging poet, inspired by nature and the harmony of the universe. First achievement was a feature in the Littoral Magazine ‘Nature and the spirt edition’, with poem called ‘Olive Branch’. A member of the Obsidian Foundation.

Marshea Makosa


Marshea Makosa is writer and founder of Norate & Augustine's, a postcolonial culture and arts platform that hosts creative events in the midlands. In 2019, she directed the radio play Of Sapiens and Star, is the author of poetry chapbook Grotesquely Unaffected and she has appeared in the anthology From Arthur’s Seat. She graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London with a bachelors in Geology and holds a Masters in Creative Writing from Edinburgh University for which she was awarded a distinction.

Elontra Hall


Elontra Hall is teacher and poet based in Northampton.

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.

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.

Lisa Lore


Lisa Lore is a Multidisciplinary Performing Artist working in Acting, Music, Spoken Word, Poetry and Sound. Based in London of Jamaican, American and British heritage, she works under the banner of Quantum Noir Nubluz Aesthete, an Afrofuturistic blend of here and there.

Sarpong Osei Asamoah


Sarpong Osei Asamoah is the author of the forthcoming "YAANOM" a chapbook selected by Chris Abani and Kwame Dawes for the Africa Poetry Book Fund chapbook box set in 2024. He is a finalist for the debut Bernardine Evaristo Prize for African Poetry, 2023. His work has featured in SAND Journal, Poetry Ireland Review, Protean Magazine, Bacopa Literary Review, Tampered Magazine, Agbowo Magazine, Lolwe, Olongo Africa Magazine, and elsewhere. He has worked at the with literary organisation such as LOATAD, and Tampered Press, and is the creative director and host of CanonPodcast; a poetry podcast that speculates on Ghanaian poetics and poetry canon.

makalani bandele


makalani bandele was born and raised in Louisville, KY. He is an Affrilachian Poet and Cave Canem fellow. He has also received fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts, Obsidian Foundation, Kentucky Arts Council, Millay Colony, and Vermont Studio Center. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a BA in the Program of Liberal Studies, as well as a graduate of Shaw University with a Master of Divinity in Biblical Studies, and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Kentucky. His work has been published in several anthologies, and widely in print and online journals, African-American Review, Killens Review of Arts and Letters, Prairie Schooner, North American Review, and Sou’wester to name a few. Most recently works from his manuscript, (jopappy & the sentence-makers are) eponymous as funk, which won Futurepoem Books’ 2022 Other Futures Award and is slated to be published in 2024, appears in Washington Square Review, Poetry Northwest, The Common, and theHythe. He has two other full-length collections of poems under the aegis of a winged mind, winner of the 2019 Autumn House Press Poetry Prize (Autumn House Press, 2020) and hellfightin’, published by Willow Books/Aquarius Press in 2011.

Photo credit: Andre Howard

Nile Lansana


Nile Lansana is an interdisciplinary artist from the South Side of Chicago. An acclaimed writer, poet, performer, and filmmaker, his work is centered around revealing radical truths and amplifying marginalized voices and narratives through a lens of Black imagination and visionary intention. He was a nominee for the inaugural Chicago Poet Laureate position. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate with degrees in Journalism and English - Creative Writing, he won the 2021 Ronald Wallace Poetry Thesis Prize and 2020 George B Hill Poetry Prize. His work is published in American Gun: A Poem by 100 Chicagoans, The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop, & elsewhere. He holds fellowships from the Rebuild Foundation and Obsidian Foundation. He has performed across the country, including Lollapalooza and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He recently starred in the play "No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks" produced by Manual Cinema. He is a proud uncle and the oldest of four Black boys.

Ioney Smallhorne


Writer, poet and educator from Nottingham of Jamaican heritage, Ioney is an alumni of Goldsmith College’s MA in Creative Writing & Education. Shortlisted for the Caribbean Small-Axe prize 2016, long listed for the Jerwood Fellowship 2017. Shortlisted for the Sky Arts/Royal Society of Literature fiction award 2021. Winner of the Writing East Midlands/Serendipity Black Ink Writing Competition 2021.
In 2022, Ioney was the New Art Exchange resident artist where she developed her project, Jamaica and Her Daughters a collection of poetry and prose. Her short story, First Flight, appears in the first Black British speculative fiction anthology, Glimpse, 2022, Peepal Tree Press. Ioney was selected to contribute to Joseph Coelho x Ottar Barry Books x Apples and Snakes children’s poetry anthology to be published 2024. In 2023 she was a member of MiddleWay Mentoring project to develop her short story collection, mentored by Leone Ross.
Ioney is a part time English teacher in FE, and co- lead facilitator for poetry Gobs Poetry Collective.

Photo credit: Mario Saragò

Daphne Smith


Daphne Smith is a musician and writer from London. She is currently studying at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her work has been shared at Bare Lit Festival and has appeared in Hecate Magazine, SPOONFEEDxPotluck and FeelsZine.

Amanda T. McIntyre


Amanda T. McIntyre is a poet, essayist and artist from Trinidad and Tobago. She is Art Director at Pride Trinidad and Tobago, and was previously Art Administrator at New Local Space (NLS), Jamaica. In 2021, she was awarded a Futuress Coding Resistance Fellowship for her project “Mapping Queer Carnival”. In 2020 Amanda was a faculty member for La Pràctica Artists Residency and an advisor for the NLS, Curatorial, and Art Writing Fellowship. Her work has been published in Caribbean Quarterly, The Caribbean Writer, The Journal of West Indian Literature, PREE: Caribbean Writing, and Tout Moun Caribbean Journal of Cultural Studies.

Amanda’s art practice includes costume design and performance. She is the creator of the Dolly Ma and Dolly Ma Brigita Baby Doll masquerades. She is credited with introducing the terms “Contemporary Baby Doll Masquerade” and “Contemporary Caribbean Baby Doll Masquerade” to Carnival Arts scholarship following the publication of her essays documenting the development of the Baby Doll Masquerade in the Caribbean from 2010 onwards. Amanda’s art practice involves feminist, queer and diasporic narratives, advocating for marginalized populations in the Caribbean.

Toni Giselle Stuart


Toni Giselle Stuart, is a South African poet, performer, and creative writing facilitator. Her work is about listening for the stories that help us reclaim our ancestral gifts and wisdom so we can remember who and what we truly are. She has work published in Poetry (2022), Callaloo (2019); the anthology Our Ghosts Were Once People (ed, Bongani Kona, Jonathan Ball, 2021), as well as other anthologies, journals, and non-fiction books. 

Performances and projects include Krotoa-Eva’s Suite, in collaboration with filmmaker Kurt Orderson (Amsterdam and Cape Town, 2016); Poetry, Paramedics and Film with filmmaker/health researcher Leanne Brady (2018); I Come To My Body As A Question with dotdotdot dance (UK & Sweden, 2016 – 2020); What the Water Remembers at Woordfees (2020); forgetting. and memory with vangile gantsho & Vusumzi Ngxande (2020), and Future for the Past, with Sites of Memory, a multi-disciplinary site-specific performance project in Amsterdam, Utrecht and Cape Town, that re-imagined Dutch - South Africa colonial and slave histories (2020—2022).

She was the founding curator of Poetica, at Open Book Festival. She has an MA Writer/Teacher (with Distinction) from Goldsmiths, University of London, where she was a 2014/2015 Chevening Scholar.

Danaé Wellington


Danaé Wellington is a Jamaican-British poet, performance artist, cultural producer and scholar based in Leeds. She is the founder of Odd Child Productions, a Black led events and production company in Sheffield. Danaé is the current Sheffield Poet Laureate (2022-2024) and has been published in several anthologies including Halfway Smile and Surfing the Twilight (Hive 2018/2019) and has written for Black Ballad UK. She is an alumnus of the Hive South Yorkshire network and the Obsidian Foundation, and has performed at a number of festivals including Ted Hughes Poetry Festival, Latitude, Tramlines, Sheaf Poetry Festival, and Off the Shelf.

Her work centres on Black creole and Christian faith, Black womanhood, liberation, and resistance. A former neo-soul vocalist, Danaé has featured on records with Crooked Man, Tuesday Born, Mic Righteous, and Franz Von and has shared stages with Linton Kwesi-Johnson, Public Enemy, Warda Yassin, Otis Mensah, and Moor Mother. She has recently released her debut LP Good Fruit produced by Maurice Fulton and produced her first documentary-film ‘Passing the Baton: The Legacy of the Windrush Pioneers’ which documents the impact of the Windrush Generation on Sheffield’s cultural landscape.

Jade Mutyora


Jade Mutyora is a neurodivergent writer of Shona Zimbabwean and British heritage. As well as poetry, she writes novels for young adults, short fiction and nonfiction. Her work appears in Fourteen poems, Juno Magazine, ADDitude, Scholastic’s 'Bedtime Stories: Beautiful Black Tales from the Past', Queer Out Here, Lolwe and others. In 2020, she won first prize in Nottingham Writers Studio’s short story competition. She is represented by Abi Fellows at The Good Literary Agency.

Curmiah Lisette


Curmiah Lisette is a St. Lucian British multidisciplinary creative and performance poet. She holds an MA in Creative Writing and Education from Goldsmiths University, London, and is founder and director of Tropical Theatre, an agency providing art-education through creative collaboration. Lisette works to restore and preserve Caribbean history, language and cultural arts, celebrating Caribbean artists past and present through specialist education provision, and championing literature and entertainment from the region. Lisette’s poetry has been published in the Journal of West Indian Literature, The World Reimagined Anthology, Leeds Beckett University’s Story Makers’ Dialogues, and Poet Versus’ Sexual Harassment Anthology. Her poetic short films have been screened in film festivals globally, and regionally in the Caribbean at St. Lucia’s Piton International Film Festival, Trinidad’s Film and Folklore Festival, and St. Vincent’s Hairouna Festival. As poet facilitator, Lisette works at corporate and community levels. Her work ranges from Aberdeen Standard Investments (2019), St. Lucia Roots and Soul Festival (2019), and The London Borough of Barking & Dagenham’s Folk Festival (2020) to South Eastern Trains and The World Reimagined (2022), engaging participants with the topics of cultural confidence, inclusion, and identity.

Photo credit: Hiro Reneau

Aisha Nelson


Aisha dreams, writes, thinks, teaches and lives in Accra, Ghana. Her writing has been shortlisted by Erbacce Press in the UK. Others won the Harmattan Poetry Prize, and the Professor Kofi Awoonor Literary Prize by University of Ghana’s Department of English.

Written in Ga and English, her first children’s storybook, 'Aku the Sun Maker', has Luganda, Kiswahili, French and other translations. 'Rain Again' and her other short plays have been featured by Accra Theatre Workshop and others; 'Drumbeat' is her first major staged play. More of her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in anthologies by Writers Project of Ghana and the then Caine Prize for African Writing; Saraba Magazine and Kalahari Review; University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Prairie Schooner; Phillis Wheatley Chapter; Illinois State University’s Obsidian; Black Lawrence Press and others.

While expecting an MPhil in English and about starting a doctorate, she continues to work on her first short story and poetry collections. Aisha’s creative and academic interests sometimes explore the intersection(s) and silence(s) between literary and visual art forms, and the question(s) that these raise about meaning, identity, reality – the existential.

When she is not writing, or waiting on something, or minding the other lives she signed up for, Aisha reflects on her ancestry, or happily lo(o)es herself in music, or slips into daydreams.

Kiara Gilbert


Kiara Gilbert is a graduate student at the intersection of ethics, political theory, and African American Studies. Her research is rooted in the lived experiences and philosophies of Black American communities. She graduated with a BA in African American Studies from Princeton University and an MPhil in Criticism and Culture from the University of Cambridge. She recently co-published a chapter on Black revolutionary Frederick Douglass in Rethinking Political Theory, published by Oxford University Press.

Muni Pilgrim


Muneera Pilgrim is an international Poet, Cultural Producer, Writer, Broadcaster and TEDx speaker.She co-founded the Muslim Hip-Hop and spoken word duo Poetic Pilgrimage, and she is a co-founder of a new platform, Black Muslim Women Bike.

She conducts workshops, shares art, lectures, and finds alternative ways to tell stories, build community and exchange ideas.

She regularly contributes to BBC 2’s Pause for Thought, she is a community artist-researcher, with IBT a mental health development worker and an alumni associate artist with The English Touring Theatre where she is working on her first play. Muneera first full poetry collection will be released late 2021 with Burning Eye books. As a freelance writer, Muneera has written for The Guardian, Amaliah, Huffington Post, The Independent, Al Jazeera Blog, Black Ballard and various other digital and print platforms. She has been featured across the BBC network including BBC News, as well as Sky News, Sky Arts, Al Jazeera, and various other television channels. In 2015 a documentary about her former group Poetic Pilgrimage was commissioned by Al Jazeera, “Hip-Hop Hijabis” has been screened several times since.

Muneera holds an MA in Islamic studies where she focused on Black British pathways to spirituality, migration, gender and race. She holds a second MA in Women’s Studies, where she focused on the intersection of faith and spirituality, race, gender, autoethnography and methodologies of empowerment for non-centred people. Her innovation in her work won her The Ann Kaloski-Naylor Award for Adventurous Academic Writing.

Reya Saint


Reya Saint is a storyteller from West London who's favourite mediums are to express through spoken word and poetry. Reya's rhythmic words

Warda Yassin


Warda Yassin is an award-winning British born Somali poet and secondary school teacher based in Sheffield. She was a winner of the 2018 New Poets Prize for her debut pamphlet Tea with Cardamom (Poetry Business, published 2019). Her poetry has been published in places like The North, Magma and Oxford Poetry, and anthologised in Verse Matters (Valley Press), Anthology X (Smith|Doorstep), Halfway Smile & Surfing the Twilight (Hive). From October 2020 she will be taking on the role of Sheffield Poet Laureate.
Warda has been commissioned as a poet and delivered poetry workshops. She is currently running the Mixing Roots project for young people of colour with Hive South Yorkshire. She has performed at various festivals and open mic nights including Ilkley Festival, Off the Shelf Festival of Words and Verse Matters, and has read with talents such as Hollie McNish, Jean Binta Breeze and Kayo Chingonyi.

Gustav Parker Hibbett


Gustav Parker Hibbett is a Black poet, essayist, and MFA dropout. Originally from New Mexico, he is currently pursuing a Literary Practice PhD at Trinity College Dublin. Most recently, he was selected as the runner-up for the North American Review’s 2021 Terry Tempest Williams Prize in Creative Nonfiction. His work also appears or is forthcoming in Witness, Adroit, MAYDAY (where he was selected as a finalist for the 2021 MAYDAY Poetry Prize), Peach Mag, Déraciné, and phoebe (where he was the runner-up for the 2020 Greg Grummer Poetry Prize).

Carlynn Newhouse


Carlynn Newhouse (she/her) is a poet, host, performer, and educator. She is a National YoungArts Finalist, the only 3-time Youth Speaks Seattle Grand Slam Champion and ranked 4th in the 2020 Women of the World Poetry Slam. Originally from Seattle, she currently practices in Washington D.C. where she obtained her Bachelors of Science from Howard University, a pursuit funded through the Adobe Creativity Scholarship. Her work has been featured on platforms such as Button Poetry, The Seattle Globalist, the Kennedy Center, and more. Carlynn believes poetry is a form of activism and tool for raising awareness in hopes of making the world a safer space.

Lateisha Lovelace-Hanson


Lateisha is a performer, writer, theatre-maker, somatic practitioner, educator, community-healer,
curator and facilitator of Jamaican heritage who enjoys swimming in open water, tending to what
grows and plant-based cooking/nurturing/futuring.

Lateisha inhabits embodied tools for connection, intimacy and transformation – creatively
accessing tools and healing pathways we need to live, love, and thrive through and beyond trauma,
marginalisation and oppression.

Their work flows across intersections of race, gender, queerness, class, earth-climate and
(dis)placement/diaspora, rooted in prophetic wisdoms of Black, Indigenous and POC queer
feminist ecologies. Working intergenerationally and interdimensionally through social-
engagement over the last 15 years.

Antonia-Joy Akoto


A.J. Akoto is a writer living and working in London. Unmothered is her first collection of poetry. She has a degree in English Literature from the University of Cambridge, with particular focuses in Latin literature, and Visual Culture.

We are publishing A.J.’s debut poetry collection, Unmothered, in July 2023

Her poem Bite was read at The Solstice Shorts Festival 2016: Shortest Day and is in the Shortest Day, Longest Night Anthology.

Deborah Johnson


Deborah Johnson is a Spoken word artist and voice over artist in kaduna, Nigeria.

The best way to describe her would be as an artvist and an artvocate, her work constantly revolves around using art as a tool to inspire social change in Nigeria and the global space.

At the moment she is a Published writer in the ‘front runners’ and ‘daughters global leadership mentoring’ poetry booklet gift to the United Nations, and in an anthology “bloom” She is also an alumni of unicef and voices of youth poetry mediathon group.

She is an acting parliamentarian in the empowering women for excellence initiative.

She is a winner of the British councils new narratives challenge.

She has had the opportunity to be trained in a VOICE artvocacy bootcamp, lending her voice through drama and poetry to address the ills in our society.
She has served as Script writer and voice over on radio show highlighting the problems of the youth in Nigeria ‘OMO’.

And a screenplay writer in a mental health project sponsored by the US government, ALAAFIA.

She is an acting ambassador for “Their world organization”

She practices volunteerism on a daily, lending her art, time and services to several NGO’s in Nigeria.
And. believes in using creativity to address social issues and inspire new narratives.

Calissa Palmer


Calissa's journey into the world of creative writing commenced during secondary school when she wrote, directed, and acted in a play called ‘Baby Mine.’ Themed around grief, loss and displacement.
Her dedication to shedding light on important issues led Calissa to write and direct a documentary called 'Young and Addicted' that explored the impact of drugs on the young members of her local community, which premiered at a cinema in London.
Continuing her exploration of the human psyche and imagination, Calissa wrote an original psychological, fantasy, short screenplay called ‘Adam's Lost.’
Fuelled by her passion for storytelling, Calissa pursued higher education, culminating in the attainment of a Master of Arts in Screenwriting for Film and Television.
Later receiving the Scriptopolooza Screenplay Quarterfinals Award for her feature-length animated, fantasy, adventure screenplay ‘The Hairy Hunchback Monster.’
In the year 2023, Calissa was awarded as a fellow of the Obsidian Writer’s Retreat, during the same year, she was placed as a Semi-Finalist in the Los Angeles International Screenplay Awards (Diversity Initiative).