Belinda Zhawi is a 24 year old writer and educator born in Zimbabwe; a decade long resident of London. Most of her stories and poems focus on her memories of living in rural and urban Zimbabwe whilst exploring the role this has played in shaping the narrative of her life thus far. She is also interested in exploring how art and education can be used as intersectional tools. Belinda has performed across the UK in numerous venues, festivals and events including Africa Writes, TATE Britain, Bestival, Big Chill, Soho Theatre, Barbican, Book Slam and Poejazzi. Some of her work has been published in the 2012 anthology Liminal Animals. Belinda is an active member of Burn After Reading – a community for young and emerging writers. In May 2013 she featured on Channel 4’s Random Acts. As of October 2013, Belinda’s been enrolled on the MA Writer/ Teacher program at Goldsmiths College, University of London currently on placement as a Spoken Word Educator in a London secondary school. She co-founded and hosts the monthly poetry night, born::free fridays.
“These are accomplished poems with strong images: ‘because 3 kids without a man …/ is like walking around with a dead fish in your purse.’ This is one instance where the quietly confident performance enriched the written word.” – Imtiaz Dharker
Harriet Creelman is a poet and producer. Since graduating from Oxford University and Oxford School of Drama, she became a member of Barbican Young Poets and a Young Producer for Shake the Dust, the national youth slam. She has read her work to a wide range of audiences, from the Queen Elizabeth Hall to Ronnie Scott’s, Boxpark to the Bush Theatre, and regularly features at London poetry events. As a founding member of Burn After Reading Poets, Harriet also supports the development of young and emerging writers, and as a programmer of poetry events across London has hosted some of the best poets working in the UK.
“These are wonderfully inventive poems with a ring of truth, making us see familiar issues in a fresh way. I especially enjoyed the idea of ordering a ‘fame patch’ online” – Imtiaz Dharker
Raymond Antrobus is a poet and former lead educator on the Spoken Word Education MA Programme at Goldsmiths University. Born and bred in Hackney, he is also co-curator of popular London poetry events Chill Pill (Soho Theatre and The Albany) and Keats House Poets. Raymond’s work has appeared on BBC Radio 4, The Big Issue, The Guardian and at TedxEastEnd. Sky Arts and Ideas Tap listed Raymond in the top 20 promising young artists in the UK. His second collection – Shapes & Disfigurements Of Raymond Antrobus – is published by Burning Eye Books. He writes a blog dedicated to Poetry-Films, Social Commentary, Interviews and Spoken Word www.raymondantrobus.com. Raymond completed his Writer/Teacher MA in Spoken Word Education at Goldsmith’s University with a distinction. He was Hackney’s first Spoken Word educator and has over four years teaching experience.
“Raymond uses nostalgia for a place and a time, but resists sentimentality completely. He makes the reader/listener experience the moment with all the senses and very skilfully sets that up against a harsher reality” – Imtiaz Dharker
Yuan Yang is a writer, translator, economist, and campaigner. She currently writes articles on development economics for The Economist, as a Marjorie Dean Intern in the Finance and Economics Section. She has been interviewed in the Financial Times and on a BBC Radio 4 documentary for her work in founding the Rethinking Economics network, an international campaign to reform economics education. She has been part of the Yorkshire Writing Squad (funded by the Arts Council) and the Barbican Young Poets. She was born in China, raised in Yorkshire and now lives in London. She is now working on her first poetry collection. She is also planning a translation of her grandparents’ lives into short stories.
“There is a sense of clarity and craft in these poems, an ability to take a single moment and make it shine. Everything extraneous is cut away to make space for wonderful lines: ‘There’s violence at the tips of bones’.” – Imtiaz Dharker
“This poet is an original. He does a wonderful dervish dance with language.” – Imtiaz Dharker
Clare Mulley (2014-2015) is a member of Highgate Poets, studied poetry with Don Paterson at St Andrews University and was awarded a place on the prestigious Christopher Tower Poetry Summer School at Christchurch College, Oxford. She has been shortlisted for the Holland Park Press ‘What’s Your History?’ competition, The Great British Write-Off anthology and performs regularly at live poetry nights across London.
Debris Stevenson‘s (2014-2015) first pamphlet Pigeon Party was published by flipped eye in May 2014. She has an MA in creative writing from Loughborough University and her poems have been published by Holland Park Press, Oxford University’s Poetry Society. She has performed poetry to a wide range of audiences at festivals, poetry events and on BBC Radio and has had writing residencies in Nottingham Castle, Theatres in Germany and in a café in Beirut. She is currently a Mentee on the prestigious Jerwood/Arvon Mentoring scheme and is Artistic Director of Mouthy Poets collective.
Ella Frears (2014-2015) is a poet and visual artist based in South East London. She has had poetry in publications including BRAND, Smiths, Lighthouse, The Stockholm Review of Literature and with The Emma Press. She is an associate board member for Magma Poetry and will be co-editing Issue 66 (2016). She performs regularly across London and is poet in residence at Knole House with Spread the Word. She runs workshops in various locations including the Tate, Newlyn Art Galleries and the Olympic Park as well as guest lecturing at Falmouth University and University East London. Ella was a guest speaker on a panel at WOW Festival 2015 at the South Bank Centre and was recently shortlisted for both the Jane Martin Poetry Prize and the Bridport Poetry Prize
Laurie Bolger (2014-2015) is a stand-up poet and presenter with a style that is consistently down-to-earth. Laurie hosts her spoken word radio show ‘Round at Laurie’s’ live from Camden’s iconic Roundhouse as well as various poetry, comedy and festival stages across the country. Laurie also performs and comperes with leading stand-up poetry night ‘Bang Said the Gun’. She has been poet in residence for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and gigged at venues such as The Royal Albert Hall and Tate Britain to date. Laurie facilitates workshops in schools, libraries and universities across London and is a creative writing workshop leader for The Poetry Takeaway teaching young people to write on the spot be-spoke poetry for the public. This year Laurie will embark on a journey as lead facilitator and poet for London in the BBC’s Words First Season and recently performed on BBC’s Radio 1.“A down to earth poet with hilarious charm” – Poems in Pubs 2015
Rachel Long (2014-2015) has had her poems published in three Emma Press anthologies, as well as in Magma and Synaesthesia magazines. She has an MA in Creative & Life Writing from Goldsmiths University London, and is one of three current poetry awardees on the prestigious Jerwood/Arvon Mentorship Scheme (2015-16), mentored by Caroline Bird. Rachel facilitates workshops in schools, libraries and for organizations such as Apples and Snakes and The Poetry Society. She is Assistant Tutor to Jacob Sam-La Rose on the Barbican Young Poets programme (2015-16). She has curated literary events for Deptford Cinema – celebrating the life of Malcolm X through poetry and film, Clear Lines Festival – raising awareness about sexual abuse and consent, and most recently for Tate Britain, where she invited millennial female poets to respond to Tracey Emin’s ‘My Bed’.
Jolade Olusanya (2013-2014) is a spoken word artist who started performing in 2012 and has since been published in numerous anthologies and performed across the UK on TV and radio. He has featured at the Olympic Park, The Royal Festival Hall, has been commissioned by Spread The Word, SPOKE, Free Word Centre, London Live and performed to a wide range of audiences as well as run workshops across London. He has also performed alongside foreign acts such as Jasmine Mans and Natalie ‘Floacist’ Stewart of Grammy nominated R&B group Floetry. He is currently working as a freelance filmmaker, photographer and poet who bridges gaps between communities and inspires people to take the world for themselves regardless of personal circumstance.
Bridget Minamore (2013-2014) is a writer from and based in South East London. She has worked with the National Theatre’s New Writers’ programme and has had poems exhibited at a TEDxLondon conference. She has an English degree from UCL and teaches drama and poetry workshops for young people around the country. Bridget is part of the creative team behind Brainchild Festival. She was recently chosen as one of The Hospital Club’s Emerging Creatives for 2015.
James Massiah (2013-2014) is a poet and musician from South London. His work explores ideas about mortality, sex and religion. He has given readings of his poetry at the Tate Modern, The Southbank and the Houses of Parliament and has received commissions to produce work for the BBC and the Guardian. A pioneer of raw talent, James is founder of The A & The E, a platform for the discussion of the arts and philosophy – curating regular poetry and music events across London. A regular on NTS radio James has successfully carved out a niche for himself as a versatile and technically gifted DJ.