Dean Atta

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Dean Atta

How did you get into writing?

I got into writing mostly because I had really good English teachers and a great drama teacher. I have always enjoyed reading plays and poetry more than I ever enjoyed reading novels (I have a short attention span and I am dyslexic) so that is what I write. I also write song lyrics and wrote a musical called Scratched Out – The Urban Musical. Growing up I would write poems about my worries, innermost feelings and all that drama you go through as a teenager, it was almost like my diary.

What is your inspiration?

I am inspired by life, the beauty and the struggles it presents us with everyday. I still often use my poetry as a diary but as I grow up my concerns have broadened and I find myself angered by the many injustices in the world so I often write political and issue based poems. I am also very interested in themes of community, identity, race, sexuality andromance. Most of my income as a writer comes from facilitating writing and performance workshops for young people and I always find myself inspired by young minds and their points of view.

What writing accomplishment are you most proud of?

Winning the Spirit of London Award for Achievement through the Arts, it has been a gift that keeps on giving, I was invited to meet our former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Mayor of London Boris Johnson, as well as commissioned to write and perform a poem dedicated to Damilola Taylor to commemorate 10 years since his murder. I performed that poem at lasts years Spirit of London ceremony alongside Alexandra Burke, Daley, Labrinth and Roll Deep. I was invited to perform it again this year at City Hall in front US R&B Superstar Trey Songz.

Being commissioned to write poems is so much more challenging and reward than writing solely for myself. I have also been commissioned to write poems for Keats House Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain and Tate Modern.

What is your top tip for a young writer?

Find a person or a group of people to share your work with, join a local writing group or connect with other writers online. Read as much as you can and write as often as you can,read and write something every single day. Write about what you know, think, feel but do

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