On 22 June, we'll be marking the 75th anniversary of Windrush by joining forces with The London Library to bring exhilarating live literature phenomenon, the R.A.P. (Rhythm and Poetry) Party, back to the Library with a Windrush Day twist. Still the usual nostalgic, no-clutter, no-fuss, evening of poetry and music, but this time we're swapping hip-hop for reggae and the evening will be curated and hosted by award-winning poet and RSL Fellow Raymond Antrobus. The line up includes: Dean Atta, Casey Bailey, Malika Booker, Anthony Vahni Capildeo, Courtney Conrad, Mr Gee, Keith Jarrett, Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa, and Deanna Rodger.
Ten poets + a DJ = the best night out you’ll ever have in a library – or anywhere, for that matter.
'A truly fluid literary event not just mingling poetry and music together seamlessly, but also bringing different tribes of poets: ages, races, gender, styles together. You will be moved in your heart and in your head.’— Roger Robinson.
This event will be BSL interpreted.
Raymond Antrobus MBE FRSL is a multi-award-winning poet, writer and educator. He is the author of Shapes & Disfigurements (Burning Eye, 2012) To Sweeten Bitter (Out-Spoken Press, 2017), The Perseverance (Penned In The Margins / Tin House, 2018) and All The Names Given (Picador / Tin House, 2021).
Dean Atta is an award-winning British author and poet whose works have received praise from Bernardine Evaristo and Malorie Blackman. His novel in verse, The Black Flamingo, about a Black gay teen finding his voice through drag, performance and fashion, won the Stonewall Book Award and was shortlisted for numerous further prestigious awards. His poetry collection, There is (still) love here, explores acceptance, queer joy and the power of unapologetically being yourself and fully embracing who you are.
Casey Bailey is an award-winning writer, performer and educator, born and raised in Nechells, Birmingham. Casey was the Birmingham Poet Laureate 2020 - 2022. He is a fellow at the University of Worcester, and in 2021 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Education by Newman University.
Malika Booker is a lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, a British poet of Guyanese and Grenadian Parentage, and co-founder of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen (A writer’s collective). The Anthology - Two Young, Two Black, Too Different, Poems from Malika’s Poetry Kitchen was recently published to celebrate Malika Poetry Kitchen’s twenty-year anniversary. Her pamphlet Breadfruit, (flippedeye, 2007) received a Poetry Society recommendation and her poetry collection Pepper Seed (Peepal Tree Press, 2013) was shortlisted for the OCM Bocas prize and the Seamus Heaney Centre 2014 prize for first full collection. She is published with the Poets Sharon Olds and Warsan Shire in The Penguin Modern Poet Series 3: Your Family: Your Body (2017). Booker and Shara McCallum recently co-edited the issue of Stand Journal curating an anthology of poems by African American, Black British, & Caribbean Women & Identifying Writers. Booker currently hosts and curates Peepal Tree Press’s Literary podcast, New Caribbean Voices. A Cave Canem Fellow, and inaugural Poet in Residence at The Royal Shakespeare Company, Malika was awarded the Cholmondeley Award (2019) for outstanding contribution to poetry and elected a Royal Society of Literature Fellow (2022). Her poem The Little Miracles, commissioned by and published in Magma 75(autumn 2019) won The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem (2020).
Anthony (Vahni) Capildeo FRSL is Professor and Writer in Residence at the University of York. Their site-specific word and visual arts includes responses to Cornwall’s former capital, Launceston, as the Causley Trust Poet in Residence (2022) and to the Ubatuba granite of the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds (2023), as well as to Scottish, Irish, and Caribbean built and natural environments. Recent publications include Like a Tree, Walking (Carcanet, 2021) (Poetry Book Society Choice) and A Happiness (Intergraphia, 2022). Their interests include collaborative work, and traditional masquerade. Capildeo served as a judge for the Jhalak Prize (2023).
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.
Mr Gee has been a veteran on the UK's Spoken Word scene since the 90's. He's presented several radio series for Radio 4 and National Prison Radio, the latter of which focused on the extensive rehabilitation work that he does within the Criminal Justice System. He was a featured guest on the "Windrush Stories" podcast presented by DJ flight for Prison Radio. His poetry has been used to launch the 2023 FA Cup Finals & the 2021 Euros. His work has also been included in the 2022 anthology The Other Windrush which explored the story of Indian & Chinese Indentured labourers in the Caribbean.
Dr Keith Jarrett is a writer, performer and academic of Jamaican heritage. His work explores Black history, religion and sexuality. A multiple poetry slam champion, he was selected for the International Literary Showcase as one of 10 outstanding LGBT UK-based writers. Keith teaches at NYU London and is completing his debut novel.
Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa is a British born Barbadian raised choreopoet 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 shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize and won Barbados’ Gine On People’s Choice Book of The Year Award.
Deanna Rodger is a former UK Poetry Slam Champion who has performed and facilitated extensively around the world. She has worked with brands and organisations including; FIFA, Disney, St Paul’s Cathedral, Nationwide, Keats’ House, Young Vic and Adidas and her reimagined If, was read by Serena Williams for BBC Sport International Women’s Day 2021. Deanna is a Pervasive Media Studio resident working with creative technology and poetry and is founder of Who Knows Poetry, a facilitation training platform. Publications include I Did It Too and his fingers have left a poetry and process collection.
Image credits: Dean Atta by Thomas Sammut, Anthony (Vahni) Capildeo by Hayley Madden, Keith Jarrett by Ciáran Frame
14 St James’s Square
London, SW1Y 4LG-SW1Y 4LG
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