A deficit of development opportunities exists for mid-career writers in the UK. While support programmes and resources for ‘emerging’ artists and those under the age of 26 are available in certain regions, for poets who have left the emerging stage or aged-out of support projects, little is available aside from increasingly expensive university degree programmes.
UniSlam has teamed up with Roundhouse to offer a 4 month programme of intensive, tutor-led masterclasses and peer-led workshops to a cohort of mid-career poets, providing high level development for post-emerging artists. Trialling a pioneering approach to poetry artist development, the series aims to bridge the gap in resources available to older artists and facilitate a self-sustaining network among the most exciting contemporary voices in poetry.
The programme is running between September 2019 - January 2020 and the group of selected artists is below.
Bryony Littlefair is a poet, community centre worker and workshop facilitator living in South London. Her pamphlet Giraffe won the Mslexia Pamphlet Prize in 2017 and is out now with Seren Books. She was shortlisted for the inaugural Rebecca Swift Foundation Women Poets’ Prize in 2018.
Alice Frecknall is a writer and visual artist based in London. A Roundhouse Poetry Collective alumna, she has read her work on stages across the country and regularly writes with The Poetry Takeaway. Her writing has appeared in publications, including The Stinging Fly, and was recently shortlisted for the Out-Spoken Prize for Poetry 2019.
Poet, writer and twitter enthusiast, Bayan started as a Roundhouse Poet in 2006 and went on to join Barbican Young Poets until 2013. She was Female Muslim Creatives' artist of the month and is part of the Heaux Noire team. Currently, she is completing her Masters in poetry at Newcastle University.
Bridget Minamore is a British-Ghanaian writer from south-east London. She is a poet, critic, essayist, and journalist, writing for The Guardian about pop culture, theatre, race and class. Titanic (Out-Spoken Press), her debut pamphlet of poems on modern love and loss, was published in May 2016.
Shortlisted for the role of London Laureate in 2018 and longlisted for the 2019 Outspoken poetry prize, Cecilia’s first show "Finding Home" toured the U.K. extensively and her latest play ‘Losing The Night’ is supported by The Arts Council and is in development with the Brighton Dome and The Roundhouse. Poet in residence at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Elisabeth Sennitt Clough is author of Glass, winner of Paper Swans' inaugural competition and Best Pamphlet at the Saboteur Awards. Her debut collection Sightings won the Michael Schmidt Prize for Best Portfolio. A poem from Sightings was highly commended in the Forward Prize. Her second collection At or Below Sea Level is a PBS Recommendation.
Hannah Gordon is the co-organiser and host of Spoken Word London, the founder of Word’s Down and a member of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen. She has performed at events across London, been published by GUG Press and her poetry has been described as ‘beautifully balanced with a certain degree of wit’.
Jamal Mehmood is a poet and fiction writer whose debut pamphlet was published by Burning Eye Books after winning Poetry Rivals in 2016. His fiction has appeared in Litro Magazine and essays at Media Diversified. He has been featured in Speaking Volume‘s ‘Breaking Ground’.
Jemima is a writer, performer and theatre-maker. She performs her work both nationally and internationally and has written commissions including for BBC 2, BBC Arts, Channel 4 and Tate Britain. Jemima’s poetry explores the minutiae of everyday life and the personal as political. Her first collection of poetry All Damn Day, is published by Burning Eye Books.
Laurie Bolger is a standup poet and presenter based in London. This year Laurie tours her one woman show ‘Talking to Strangers’ as well regularly performing from her debut poetry collection ‘Box Rooms,’ showing that poetry can be your friend. “If I could jump into Laurie’s poems I would. I imagine it’d be lovely and warm in there.” Hollie McNish
Maria’s debut one woman show, Fat Girls Don't Dance won the Saboteur Award for Best Spoken Word Show in 2017 and is published by Oberon Books. Her second show, Essex Girl was shortlisted for Soho Theatre's Tony Craze Award and won Show of the Week at VAULT 2019. She is currently working on her debut poetry collection, ‘Alright, girl?‘.
Shruti Chauhan is a poet and performer from Leicester. Shruti won the National Poetry Library's Instapoetry competition, was voted Best Spoken Word Performer at the 2018 Saboteur Awards and wrote the song lyrics for the BBC Four documentary, My Asian Family – The Musical. Shruti’s pamphlet, That Which Can Be Heard, is published with Burning Eye Books.
Anna Selby is a poet and naturalist. Her poetry often explores our relationship with water and the natural world. She works collaboratively with conservationists, dancers and choreographers, writes poetic studies of different species in the field, directly from life, often underwater, and aims for these poems to share a sense of compassion and attentiveness to the environment. She is currently Poet-in-Residence at Schumacher College.
Talia Randall makes and curates riotous cabaret, bold poetry and joyous theatre. An artist, writer and dyslexic with a growing following, her work has been called “sublime” (dig.com),“distinctive” (The Upcoming) and “fascinating” (Sabotage Reviews). She has performed across the UK at the Roundhouse, The Southbank Centre, Wales Millennium Centre, Bristol Old Vic, Glastonbury and The Edinburgh Fringe.