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Meet The Hull 18 Poets

Contains Strong Language presents leading local, national, international poets and world class spoken word artists alongside brand new voices. The Hull 18 are an ensemble of exciting and innovative poets, commissioned to create new work which will be premiered in the city during the festival. They will be resident in the city for three days.

Simon Armitage

Simon Armitage CBE was born and lives in West Yorkshire. He has published over a dozen collections of award-winning poetry, most recently The Unaccompanied. A broadcaster, playwright and the author of three best selling non-fiction titles, he is Professor of Poetry at Leeds and Oxford Universities.

Book for free to see JoinedUp Dance's incredible performance of Simon's poetry collection Still.

Kat Francois

Kat François is a performance artist, broadcaster, playwright and director. Kat was the first person to win a televised poetry slam in the UK and also won the World Slam Championships.

Book for free to see Kat Francois and Jay T John live in Hull.

Ishion Hutchinson

Born in Jamaica, Ishion Hutchinson is the author of poetry collections Far District and House of Lords and Commons. Awards include National Book Critics Circle, Whiting Writers Award, PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award, Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Come along for free to see Ishion with Malika Booker.

Jackie Kay

Born to a Scottish mother and Nigerian father, Jackie Kay MBE was adopted by a white couple at birth and brought up in Glasgow. Bantam, published in 2017, is her first collection since being named Scottish Makar, the Scottish Poet Laureate.

Don't miss a screening and chat about Jackie's new films for CSL.

Vicky Foster

Vicky Foster is a poet from Hull. Her first collection Changing Tides was published by King’s England Press. Vicky performed to acclaim at Contains Strong Language 2017. She is the host of Women of Words.

Don't miss Bathwater - Vicky's one woman performance.

Shirley May

Shirley May comes from Manchester’s Speakeasy Collective and is Visiting Fellow at MMU. She is part of Commonword’s development agency. Shirley writes from a Caribbean Diaspora reference point, expressing being part of the Black British Canon.

Book for free to see Shirley May & Tanya Shirley at Contains Strong Language.

Louise Wallwein MBE

Louise Wallwein MBE is an award-winning poet, playwright and performer from Manchester, renowned as an explosive artist who detonates her audiences’ imaginations. Glue, her acclaimed one-woman show, was performed at CSL in 2017.

Louise is appearing at CSL with Home Town Story and alongside Charnell Lucien.

Tanya Shirley

Tanya Shirley has published two poetry collections: She Who Sleeps With Bones and The Merchant of Feathers. In 2017 she was awarded a Silver Musgrave Medal from The Council of the Institute of Jamaica for her outstanding contribution in the field of literature.

Don't miss Tanya Shirley and Shirley May at Contains Strong Language.

Vladimir Lucien

Vladimir Lucien is a writer, actor and critic from St. Lucia. His writing has been published in regional and international journals. His debut collection of poetry Sounding Ground, published by Peepal Tree Press, won the 2015 Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.

Book for free to see Vladimir Lucien & Jacob Polley at Contains Strong Language.

Karen McCarthy Woolf

Karen McCarthy Woolf was born in London to English and Jamaican parents. Her book An Aviary of Small Birds was shortlisted for the Forward Felix Dennis and the Fenton Aldeburgh first collection prizes. Seasonal Disturbances was published in 2017.

Don't miss The Verb: Unwritten Poems after the First World War.

Jay Bernard

Jay Bernard is a writer from London. Their work is multi-disciplinary, critical, queer and rooted in the archives. Works include multi-media piece Surge: Side A, winner of the Ted Hughes Award 2018 and short film Something Said.

Come along to see Jay in session with Jackie Kay.

Jay T John

Jay T John is a non-binary poet who hails from a fishing village in West Trinidad. Inspired and moved by the works of other writers across the Caribbean Diaspora, their greatest aspiration is to create art as resistance.

Book for free to see Jay and Kat Francois at Contains Strong Language.

Amanda Dalton

Amanda Dalton’s poetry publications include How To Disappear and Stray. Recent BBC audio dramatisations include several Henry James novels and her CSL commission Tove Jansson’s The Summer Book. Amanda will be in conversation with Sophia Jansson at Hull Central Library.

Don't miss Amanda with Sophia Jansson - book for free.

Jacob Polley

Jacob Polley is the author of four acclaimed poetry collections: The Brink, Little Gods, The Havocs and Jackself, which won the 2016 T.S. Eliot Prize, and the Somerset Maugham Award-winning novel Talk of the Town.

Come along for Jacob Polley's unmissable work The Blackwood.

Malika Booker

Malika Booker is a British poet and multi-disciplinary artist of Guyanese and Grenadian parentage. She co-founded the writers’ collective Malika’s Poetry Kitchen. Her poetry collection Pepper Seed was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre prize.

Isaiah Hull

Isaiah Hull’s first poetry collection Nosebleeds will be published by Wrecking Ball Press. Back at Contains Strong Language by popular demand, Isaiah returns to Hull with Young Identity, the spoken word organisation formed in Manchester.

Don't miss the launch of Isaiah's new poetry collection - Nosebleeds.

Charnell Lucien

Charnell Lucien is a spoken word artiste, tutor, motivator, social issues advocate, youth empowerer and mentor. Born and raised in central Trinidad, Charnell began writing at the age of 13. She is currently working on her first book To Self, With Love.

Book for free to see Charnell with Louise Wallwein.

Joe Hakim

Joe Hakim is a writer, poet and spoken word performer from Hull. Festival appearances include Latitude, Big Chill and Edinburgh Fringe. In 2017, Joe travelled to Trinidad with the Roundhouse and Wrecking Ball Press for the Talking Doorsteps project.

Don't miss Joe's session with Vicky Foster.