Some of the poets performing at this year’s festival are below. More coming soon!
Born in Nigeria in 1984, Inua Ellams is an internationally touring poet, playwright, performer, graphic artist & designer. He is an ambassador for the Ministry of Stories and has published four books of poetry: Candy Coated Unicorns and Converse All Stars, Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales, The Wire-Headed Heathen, and #Afterhours. His first play The 14th Tale was awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival and his fourth Barber Shop Chronicles sold out its run at England’s National Theatre. He is currently touring An Evening With An Immigrant and working on The Half God of Rainfall – a new play in verse. In graphic art & design, online and in print, he tries to mix the old with the new, juxtaposing texture and pigment with flat shades of colour and vector images. He lives and works from London, where he founded The Midnight Run, a nocturnal urban excursion. www.inuaellams.com
After five poetry collections including House of Small Absences (Seren, 2015), London-based poet, arts organiser, creative-writing teacher & former Poetry Society chair, Anne-Marie Fyfe, is currently embarked on a unique Arts-Council-funded 18-month teaching/writing/ performing tour, The Voyage Out, exploring coastal regions & lives in Britain, Ireland, US & Canada, leading to a new hybrid poetry/prose/ travel-writing memoir (due from Seren, Spring 2019). Born in Cushendall, Co. Antrim, Anne-Marie lives in London where she has run Coffee-House Poetry’s readings & classes at London’s leading live literature venue, the Troubadour, since 1997. www.annemariefyfe.com
Alyson Hallett’s pamphlet Toots was shortlisted for the Michael Marks and Callum MacDonald Memorial Awards. She has collaborated with artists, musicians, composers, sculptors, glass makers and curates an international poetry as public art project, The Migration Habits of Stones. She has held many residencies including poet-in-residence at the Charles Causley house, writer-in-residence at the University of the West of England, and a Leverhulme-funded artist-in-residence post in Exeter University’s geography department in Cornwall. As well as two full volumes and several artist’s books of poetry, she has also published short stories, an afternoon play and audio-diary for Radio 4, an essay on chalk for Radio 3. She lives in Bath and works part time for the Royal Literary Fund as a Reading Round Lector. www.thestonelibrary.com
Gerður Kristný emerged as one of Iceland‘s most interesting poets with her first book, Ísfrétt, in 1994 and has since then published several books of poetry as well as short stories, novels and children‘s books. Awards for her work include the Icelandic Literature Prize and a nomination for the Nordic Council Literary Prize for Blóðhófnir (Bloodhoof), the Icelandic Journalist Award for her biography Myndin af Pabba – Saga Thelmu (The Picture of Dad: Thelma’s Story), the Icelandic Children‘s Book Award for her book Marta Smarta and the Halldor Laxness Literary Award for her novel Bátur með Segli og Allt (A Boat with a Sail and All). Earlier this year, Arc Publication published her long poem, Drápa – A Reykjavík Murder Mystery, in English translation by Rory McTurk.
Still just 20, Mancunian Isaiah Hull has made an enormous impact on the contemporary performance poetry scene. He has performed with Kate Tempest, Saul Williams and Lemon Sissay, and on BBC Radio I’s Big Weekend Festival. He was recently commissioned by Brighter Sound to commemorate Manchester soldiers who died in The First World War and by the BBC for Wayne McGregor’s Winged Bull in the Elephant Case. In 2017 he was involved in the Manchester International Festival (MIF), performing at the Imagine Homeland Symposium on the 70th anniversary of the partition of India, and also starred at the Hull 17 Contains Strong Language. He is currently working on Nosebleeds , a multiversal which involves poetry, photography and music. He appears in two musical groups , lupin and hitch and BADD GANG.
Sean O’Brien is a poet, critic, editor, translator, playwright, broadcaster and novelist. His poetry has won multiple awards, including the T S Eliot Prize, the Forward Prize (three times), and the E M Forster Award. His eighth poetry collection, The Beautiful Librarians, won the 2015 Roehampton Poetry Prize and his ninth, Europa, was published this year, as was his second collection of short stories, Quartier Perdu. In 2016 his second novel, Once Again Assembled Here, was published, as was Hammersmith, a chapbook of poetry and photographs. Born in London, Sean grew up in Hull and now lives in Newcastle upon Tyne. He is Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Sandeep Parmar has published two critically acclaimed books of poetry: The Marble Orchard and Eidolon, winner of the Ledbury Forte Prize for Best Second Collection. She is also the author of Reading Mina Loy’s Autobiographies: Myth of the Modern Woman, and of scholarly editions for Carcanet Press of The Collected Poems of Hope Mirrlees and The Collected Poems of Nancy Cunard. Her essays and reviews have appeared in the Guardian, The Los Angeles Review of Books, the Financial Times and the Times Literary Supplement. A Professor of English Literature at the University of Liverpool, Sandeep is also a BBC New Generation Thinker and Co-Director of Liverpool’s Centre for New and International Writing. In 2017, she founded the Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critics Scheme for BAME reviewers and the Citizens of Everywhere project, which focuses on broadening ideas of citizenship and belonging.
Penelope Shuttle has lived in Cornwall since 1970, and is the widow of Peter Redgrove, Falmouth Poetry Group’s founder. She is now its President. Her eleventh collection, Will You Walk a Little Faster?, was published in May 2017 by Bloodaxe Books. In 2016 she collaborated with John Greening on Heath, a book-length sequence of poems about Heathrow Airport and Hounslow Heath (Nine Arches Press, 2016) and also produced a pamphlet, Four Portions of Everything on the Menu for M’sieur Monet (Indigo Dreams Publications). She has read at many major festivals and her 2005 collection, Redgrove’s Wife, was shortlisted for The Forward Prize and the T S Eliot Award.
“Shuttle relates complex emotions with a light earnestness, humour, and electric imagination.”
Ben Wilkinson, The Guardian
Andrew Lanyon was born and still lives in Cornwall. An artist, filmmaker, author and creator of extraordinary books, his work is in private and public collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. His limited-edition artist’s books include the Rowley (Aingeal) series, Clareas well as larger-run publications such as A Fairy Find (Portobello Books) and Circular Walks Around Rowley Hall (Atlas Press), both 2006. He has written and produced numerous films including Splatt dhe Wertha, (Plot for Sale), which won the Golden Torc award at the 18th Celtic Film Festival in 1997. His solo show of installations, paintings and writings with an accompanying book, Von Ribbentrop in St Ives, Art and War in the Last Resort, opened at Kestle Barton in Cornwall in 2010 and went on to Kettles Yard in Cambridge in 2011.