This evening of poetry comes at you with an unapologetic political punch, headlined by the father of dub poetry himself, Linton Kwesi Johnson, and accompanied by a spectacular line-up of writers, spoken word and performance poets.

Introduced by Javaad Alipoor, the festival welcomes Zia Ahmed, Anthony Anaxagorou, Zeina Hashem Beck, Damien Le Bas and Zodwa Nyoni. Prepare to be confronted with spirited, passionate verse that doesn’t hold back, as this informal mix of powerful and dynamic poets takes on the issues of our time.

This event is run in association with The Poetry Society.

About The Speakers

Zia Ahmed

Zia Ahmed is a London Laureate, having been shortlisted to be the Young Poet Laureate for London 2015/16. He is also a former Roundhouse Slam champion and is currently in residency at Paines Plough as part of Channel 4’s Playwright Scheme.

Photo by Caro Swan.

Anthony Anaxagorou

Anthony Anaxagorou is a British-born Cypriot award-winning poet, fiction writer, essayist, publisher, and poetry educator. He has published nine volumes of poetry, a spoken-word EP, and a collection of short stories. He is the founder of Out-Spoken. GB.


Zeina Hashem Beck

Zeina Hashem Beck is the author of To Live in Autumn, winner of the 2013 Backwaters Prize; 3arabi Song, winner of the 2016 Rattle Chapbook Prize; and There Was and How Much There Was, a 2016 Laureate’s Choice, selected by Carol Ann Duffy. She won the 2016 May Sarton NH Poetry Prize for Louder than Hearts.

Linton Kwesi Johnson

Linton Kwesi Johnson was born in Chapelton, Clarendon, Jamaica and came to London in 1963. He was a member of the Black Panthers, and developed his work with Rasta Love, a group of poets and drummers.  In 2002 Johnson became only the second living poet, and the first ever black poet, to have his work included in Penguin’s Modern Classics series, under the title Mi Revalueshanary Fren: Selected Poems. He has has been running his own record label, LKJ Records, since 1981.

Damian Le Bas

Damian Le Bas is a poet and author from a large Gypsy Traveller family and his first book, Stopping Places, won the 2016 Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award.  Damian is a native speaker of the Romany language, which plays a central role in his poetry. He read Theology at Oxford University, graduating in 2006.

Photo by Nino Pusija

Zodwa Nyoni

Zodwa is a playwright and poet based in Leeds. As winner of the Channel 4 Playwright’s Scheme she was Writer-in-Residence at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.  She has previously been Apprentice Poet-in-Residence at Ilkely Literature Festival (2013), Leeds Kirkgate Market (2012) and Writer-in-Residence at I Love West Leeds Festival (2010).  She is currently under commission at The Tricycle Theatre and Theatre Royal Stratford East.

About The Host

Javaad Alipoor

Javaad Alipoor is a writer, director and sometimes performer whose work comes out of discussions and workshops with communities that don’t usually engage with mainstream theatre. His recent theatre work has included My Brother’s CountryOrgreave: An English Civil War and The Rising of the Moon.  He is a published poet and his writing about politics and theology have appeared in Critical Muslim.