[PAST EVENT] PANEL: What it means to be a poet in the 21st century

Tues, 28 February
7pm – 8pm
£8 (£6 Concessions)

Poets Roy McFarlane and John McCullough in conversation with poet and chair Akila Richards. Three leading poets talk about the importance of community, embracing experiences of marginalization, speaking from authenticity and much more.

About the writers

Roy McFarlane is a Poet, Playwright and former Youth & Community Worker born in Birmingham of Jamaican parentage spending most of his years living in Wolverhampton and the Black Country, now residing in Brighton. Presently Canal Laureate and Birmingham & Midlands Institute resident poet. A well-loved and established poet, he’s held the role of Birmingham Poet Laureate, and Starbucks Poet in Residence.

Roy wrote and performed in the Opening Ceremony Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games as one of the Bards of Brum. From Amsterdam to Philadelphia, Roy has shared his passion for social justice, equality, identity, love and the healing power of poetry as a witness to our times.

His debut collection, Beginning With Your Last Breath, was followed by The Healing Next Time, (Nine Arches Press 2018) nominated for the Ted Hughes award and Jhalak Prize. His new collection Living by Troubled Waters (Nine Arches Press 2022) is now available. He has an MA in Writing Poetry from Newcastle University and the Poetry School.  

John McCullough lives in Hove. His third book of poems, Reckless Paper Birds, was published with Penned in the Margins and won the 2020 Hawthornden Prize for Literature as well as being shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award. His other awards include the Polari First Book Prize and his poem ‘Flower of Sulphur’ was shortlisted for the 2021 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. His fourth collection, Panic Response, was published in March 2022 by Penned in the Margins and in The Times was listed as one of the Notable New Poetry Books for the year.

This session will be chaired by

Akila Richards is a poet, writer and spoken word artist, performing and collaborating in the UK and abroad. She has created work to commission across artistic genres in theatre, for audio, to moving images and for culturally creative events. Her recent poems and short stories featured at Dulwich Picture Gallery, Brighton Festival, in Peepal Tree Press, Waterloo Press, Penguin as well as on digital platforms. Akila’s poetry pamphlet is currently being editing as is her novel for publication.

Who is this event for?

Most suitable for intermediate level but open to all

About Writers’ Week

Writers’ Week offers discussions, talks and information sessions on how to navigate our work as writers, what we write about, and the support we need for our writing lives to thrive. See the full schedule and information about a weekly ticket here.

Bursary places

Limited bursary places are available for those who would struggle to pay the full price for an event, workshop or course with New Writing South. To apply for a bursary please fill out this application form. We are also offering limited 50% bursaries for this event in light of the cost-of-living crisis. To apply for a 50% bursary, please fill out the 50% bursary application form.

Please note, we are unable to refund tickets to this event.