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Amerah Saleh is a spoken word artist born and bred from Birmingham. Her Muslim Yemeni roots give her space to get lost and found on multiple occasions between identity. She is the Co-Founder of Verve Poetry Press and a General Manager at Young Giant, as part of Beatfreeks Collective. Amerah has performed all around Europe and has released her first collection called ‘I Am Not From Here’ in April 2018. Her work touches on identity, womanhood, religion and the obscure idea of belonging only to one place.
Jack Crowe is a poet who has been gently tapping Birmingham on the shoulder for a big while. He has made interdisciplanetary work for Verve Poetry Festival, Apples & Snakes and Beatfreaks. He is the co-inventor of Poetry & Music thing, Funkenteleky. Jack’s words offer flights of fancy, but on those flights there is a buffet trolley serving meaning, duty free. He has several books out – he will take them back to the library when he has read them.
Kamil Mahmood is a Poet, Spoken Word and Visual Artist born and raised in Birmingham His work explores identity, community, Islam, the British Pakistani Diaspora, masculinity and international activism. He combines contemporary commentary with narratives of the often overlooked and unheard, championing words as tools for change.
He has worked with organisations including Beatfreeks, Birmingham REP, Ummahsonic, Sampad, the National Heritage Memorial Fund, and has perfomed with Out-Spoken, live on BBC Asian Network, at the Midlands Arts Centre, the Birmingham Hippodrome, Ikon Gallery as well as Cheltenham and Verve Poetry Festivals. He has been described as a wordsmith of the ages whose lyrics permeate the zeitgeist and a promising prospect for the UK Poetry scene.
Hannah Swingler is a poet, storyteller, artist, and teacher that works across a kaleidoscope of platforms.
Hannah's first collection 'The Dress Has Pockets' was published by Verve Poetry Press in 2019.
She has performed across the country and internationally, on stages, streets and radio. Her work explores themes of nostalgia, family relationships, mental health, and local history and heritage. She is constantly exploring narratives surrounding memory.
Hannah is a BBC New Creative, Birmingham Hippodrome Young Poet and a resident poet for the Birmingham Midland Institute's BMI Live! programme.
She has recently been commissioned by The Poetry Society and Canal & River Trust, BBC Radio and the Overhear App. She was the voice and face of Nationwide Building Society's latest marketing campaign.
Hannah was awarded a Masters with Distinction in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham in 2018, where she coached their uniSLAM team to victory. In 2019, she joined them to win the Hammer & Tongue Team Slam at The Royal Albert Hall, making her a multi-slam winner alongside 2018's CoachesSLAM.
Hannah spends her days teaching secondary and sixth form students that it's okay to be messy. She can also quote the whole of Mean Girls and finds it fundamentally strange if someone is not a dessert person.
She believes good things come to those who make.
Nafeesa Hamid is a British Pakistani poet and playwright based in Birmingham. She has been writing and performing for 6 years at nights around the UK. She has featured at Outspoken (London), Poetry is Dead Good (Nottingham), Find the Right Words (Leicester) and Hit The Ode (Birmingham). She was invited to perform at TedxBrum 2016 (Power of us).
Nafeesa has also performed at Cheltenham and Manchester Literature Festivals as part of The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write, a recent (2017) anthology publication by Saqi Books, edited by Sabrina Mahfouz. She is an alumni of Mouthy Poets and Derby Theatre Graduate Associate Artists. She ran Twisted Tongues, an open-mic only poetry night at The Station in Kings Heath.
Bohdan Piasecki is a poet from Poland based in Birmingham. A committed performer, he has taken his poems from the upstairs room in an Eastbourne pub to the main stage of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, from underground Tokyo clubs to tramways in Paris, from a bookshop in Beijing to an airfield in Germany, from niche podcasts to BBC Radio. In the UK, he regularly features at the country’s most exciting spoken word nights, festivals, and readings. He enjoys the creative chaos of big field festivals just as much as the composed concentration of literary events.
Bohdan founded the first poetry slam in Poland before moving to the UK to get a doctorate in translation studies. He has worked as Director of Education on the Spoken Word in Education MA course at Goldsmiths University, and was the Midlands Producer for Apples and Snakes between 2010 and 2017. Since 2012, he has been a regular Visiting Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham. He currently holds the post of General Manager at Free Radical, a Birmingham-based company creating opportunities for young artists with an activist practice.
Willis The Poet
Rick Sanders, aka Willis the Poet, is an established comedy stand-up poet based out of the mighty West Midlands. As well as being a regular on the Birmingham poetry circuit, Willis also actively supports the flourishing spoken word event scene in the region, his sticky sausage-fingers in as many pies as he can.
On the national stage, Willis won the 1st round of the InkBomb slam competition in Bristol and was runner up in the Wolverhampton Literary Festival Slam in 2017 & 2018. He has performed in Manchester at the Evidently World War Four slam competition, the Hammer & Tongue Slam in Bristol and also at the Stafford Gatehouse on the open mic at the Bang Said The Gun tour. He has appeared at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival, in the poetry tent Lakefest, and as the emerging talent at Apples & Snake’s Bright Smoke event with the RSC in Stratford, wowing the organisers with his comic verse. He was also selected to appear on the Black Country Broadsheet Project as one of the emerging poets in the region – The Cannabis Anarchist
Willis has set up a monthly poetry slam event in Dudley to bring more spoken word to the Black Country and hosts a series of Comedy Poetry Nights in the Midlands and beyond. He is also co-host of Tilt on the Mic in Birmingham and presents Brum Radio Poets, both on the monthly radio show and at the quarterly live showcase event in Waterstones. He also hosts Whisky & Words at the Birmingham Whisky Club, bringing together two of his favourite things.
Jasmine Gardosi is a previous winner of the Cheltenham Poetry Festival, Mix It Up Midlands and International Pangaea Poetry slams. Her work has appeared on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb and she was recently shortlisted for the Out-Spoken Poetry Prize for Performance and for Birmingham Poet Laureate 2016/18.
A former BBC Arts Young Creative, she has since worked as a Poet in Residence for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, as an Emerge Young Artist under The Mighty Creatives, and is collaborating with Autin Dance Theatre on a sexual health show combining dance and spoken word.
Jasmine runs workshops in schools and community centres and leads on West Midlands Poets’ Place. She likes to write about weird things in unweird places – kind of like her, everywhere.
Rupinder Kaur is a poet, spoken word performer, workshop facilitator and blogger. Birmingham born with a strong love and connection to her Panjabi roots which is shown in her work. Her debut poetry collection, Rooh, was released in September 2018 with Verve Poetry Press. She has performed across London and Birmingham and was featured with BBC Asian network.
Casey Bailey is a poet, spoken word performer, author, facilitator, rapper and secondary school senior leader, born and raised in Nechells, Birmingham. His work has seen him performing on stages up and down the country, and recently on the screen with BBC Three. His work often deals with social issues, and personal loss and grief. Casey’s debut poetry pamphlet Waiting at Bloomsbury Park is published by Big White Shed (2017). His first full collection Adjusted (2018) is published by Verve Poetry Press.