Born in Toronto, Ontario, Sonnet L’Abbé grew up in Calgary, rural southern Manitoba, and Kitchener-Waterloo. They are the author of A Strange Relief, Killarnoe, and Sonnet’s Shakespeare. Their styles range from lyric to concrete and experimental, and their themes include racial, national and settler identity, relationship to land, surviving sexual assault, plant knowledge, physiology of music and love. Their influences include M. NourbeSe Phillip, Anne Michaels, Christian Bök, Claudia Rankine, Wislawa Szymborska and Seamus Heaney. They were the editor of Best Canadian Poetry 2014, and their chapbook, Anima Canadensis, won the 2017 bp Nichol Chapbook Award. L’Abbé now lives in Nanaimo BC and is a professor at Vancouver Island University.
Ellen Van Neerven (Australia)(they/them) is an award-winning author, editor and educator of Mununjali (Yugambeh language group) and Dutch heritage. van Neerven’s poetry collection Comfort Food (UQP, 2016) won the Tina Kane Emergent Award and was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Kenneth Slessor Prize. Throat (UQP, 2020), the recipient of Book of the Year, the Kenneth Slessor Prize and the Multicultural Award at 2021 NSW Literary Awards and the inaugural Quentin Bryce Award, is now available.
They are the editor of three anthologies, including the recent Homeland Calling: Words from a New Generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voices .
Roy McFarlane was born in Birmingham of Jamaican parentage and has spent most of his years living in Wolverhampton. He has held the roles of Birmingham’s Poet Laureate, Starbucks’ Poet in Residence, and the Birmingham & Midland Institute’s Poet in Residence. Roy’s writing has appeared in magazines and anthologies, including Out of Bounds (Bloodaxe, 2012), Filigree (Peepal Tree, 2018) and he is the editor of Celebrate Wha? Ten Black British Poets from the Midlands (Smokestack, 2011). His first full collection of poems, Beginning With Your Last Breath, was published in 2016, followed by The Healing Next Time in 2018, both published by Nine Arches Press. He is the current Canal Laureate.
Hinemoana Baker (New Zealand) is a poet, musician and creative writing teacher. She traces her ancestry from Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Te Āti Awa and Ngāi Tahu, as well as from England and Germany (Oberammergau in Bayern). Her previous poetry collections are mātuhi | needle (co-published in 2004 by Victoria University Press and Perceval Press), kōiwi kōiwi (VUP, 2010) and waha | mouth (VUP, 2014). She has edited several online and print anthologies and released several albums of original music and more experimental sound art. She works in English, Māori and more recently German, the latter in collaboration with German poet and sound performer Ulrike Almut Sandig. She is currently living in Berlin, where she was 2016 Creative New Zealand Berlin Writer in Residence, and completing a PhD at Potsdam University.
Efe Paul Azino born in Lagos is a Nigerian writer, performance artist and poet, regarded “as one of Nigeria’s leading performance poets.” He has also been regarded as one who has “played a pivotal part in lifting the words from the page and giving them life” in the Nigerian spoken word performance space.
He is the founder and director of the Lagos International Poetry Festival, and the director of poetry at the annual Lagos Book and Art Festival.
In 2015, he published his first collection of poetry titled For Broken Men Who Cross Often, published by Farafina Books. His second poetry collection, The Tragedy of Falling with Laughter Stuck in Your Throat, came out in 2018.
Nafeesa Hamid is a British Pakistani poet, spoken word artist and playwright based in the Midlands. Her work focuses on issues such as mental health, domestic violence, gender, identity and culture. Nafeesa has worked with Apples and Snakes, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG), mac birmingham, Derby Theatre and Beatfreeks. She is also the founder and co-manager of Twisted Tongues and Twisted Tongue Scribble Sessions.
Her debut collection of poetry Besharam was published in 2018 and was highly commended at the Forward Prize in 2020. A poem from this collection also features in the recently published Forward Poems of the Decade 2011–2020.
Saradha Soobrayen is a creative activist working with poetry, visual arts and live arts. Born in London of Mauritian parentage, she received a Society of Authors, Eric Gregory Award for Poetry in 2004 Ongoing projects include ‘Sounds Like Root Shock’ a multidisciplinary poetic inquiry into the depopulation of the Chagos Archipelago. Her latest publication ‘In Her Deepest Sleep, Madam Lisette Talate Returns to Chagos’ is published by Akashic Books – New Generation African Poets: A Chapbook Boxset (Nane). In 2022 she was named in Electricliterature.com ’12 Mauritian women writers you should be reading.’ www.saradhasoobrayen.com
Njeri Wangari. Known more by her trademark ‘The Kenyan Poet’. Njeri Wangari is arguably Africa’s pioneer poet blogger. Her journey into poetry began in 2004 as a fledgling writer who was among an emerging breed of African poets riding the crest of a ‘new wave’ of keen interest among Kenyans in ‘spoken word’ performance born with the publication of Kwani! launched by the Binyavanga Wainaina. She represents Africa’s first generation of contemporary poets and is one of Kenya’s first spoken word artists.
Njeri authored her first anthology, Her book Mines & Mind Fields in 2010. The volume is an urban blues poetry collection whose 40 poems explore themes on Urban Blues, Love, Identity, Traditions, Cultural changes, Exploitation and Politics among others.
Melizerani T. Selva is a spoken word poet, storyteller and journalist from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Her rhymes are drawn from her wild curiosity in taboos and all the things her Mother told her not to do. Having been the first Malaysian to speak and perform poetry at Asia’s largest TEDx event, TEDxGateway (Mumbai), she has also gained first runner up at both The National Singapore Slam and Ubud Writers and Readers Festival slam.
Her poems have also seen the prominent stages of Lit Up Singapore, Georgetown Literary Festival, Urbanscapes, Raising The Bar, Melaka International Arts Festival 2014, Cri de Femme International Poetry and Arts Festival 2015 and various literary events in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia and India. Her first book of poems titled ‘Taboo’ made the Top 10 Best-Seller List of Malaysia’s Largest Online Bookstore.
Dzifa Benson is a multi-disciplinary live artist who uses literature as her primary mode of expression. The intersections between science, art, the body and ritual and by the question of who or what is invisible animate Dzifa’s practice. She explores this through poetry, storytelling, theatre, performance, libretti, essay, journalism and a range of other media. She also embraces education, collaboration and participation at the heart of her practice. She is interested site-specific work as well as subverting the use of existing spaces.
Born in London to Ghanaian parents, Dzifa grew up in Ghana, Nigeria and Togo. She has performed her work internationally in many contexts.
ALSO FEATURING Tishani Doshi (India), Alvin Pang (Singapore), Isabelle Baafi (South Africa), Shivanee Ramlochan (Trinidad & Tobago), Nick Makoha (Uganda), Kayo Chingonye (Zambia).