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Can poetry change the world?



Can poetry change the world?

Thursday 24 April

7.30pm – 10pm

Rich Mix, Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA

English PEN invites you for a night of poetry, music and discussion on how literature and activism can come together. Featuring poets James Byrne, Sophie Mayer, Laila Sumpton, Aoife Mannix, Sonority Turner and DJ Nasty McQuaid. Hosted by Shane Solanki.

The evening will highlight PEN’s campaign for the release of imprisoned Cameroonian poet Enoh Meyomesse and celebrate the publication of Jail Verse: Poems from Kondengui Prison in English.

7.30pm Open-mic performances from Student PEN
8.00pm Panel discussion on How to be a literary activist with Sophie Mayer, Laila Sumpton and James Byrne.
8.45pm Performances from Laila Sumpton, Sonority Turner and Aoife Mannix
9.15pm- 10pm Afrobeats music from DJ Ian (Nasty) McQuaid

James Byrne is a British poet and Editor of The Wolf magazine, a poetry magazine he co-founded in 2002. His second poetry collection, Blood/Sugar, has just been published by Arc Publications. In 2008, he won the Treci Trg Poetry Festival prize in Serbia. In 2009 his poems were translated into Arabic for the Al-Sendian Cultural Festival in Syria. He is the co-editor of Voice Recognition: 21 Poets for the 21st Century, published by Bloodaxe, and with Sandeep Parmar he is co-editing Paris and Other Poems by Hope Mirrlees, which will be published by Fyfield Books in 2011.

Sophie Mayer is a poet and activist. She is the co-editor of Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot, Binders Full of Women, and Glitter is a Gender (forthcoming from Contraband). Her most recent collection is signs of the sistership (with Sarah Crewe, Knives, Forks and Spoons) and her third full-length collection, (O), is due from Arc in 2015.

Laila Sumpton works as a poet and in the campaigns team for Plan UK, and her poetry regularly explores human rights themes and she runs creative campaigning workshops. She is a member of the Keats House Poets, co-edited ‘In Protest- 150 poems for human rights’ and is working on her first pamphlet.

Aoife Mannix is the author of four collections of poetry and a novel. She has been poet in residence for the Royal Shakespeare Company and BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live. She has performed throughout the UK and toured internationally with the British Council to China, Latvia, Nigeria, Turkey, Taiwan, Thailand, India, Norway and Austria.

Stephanie (Sonority) Turner is a poet, performer and creative artist based in London. Stephanie has recently published ‘Writing in the Blackout’ an online anthology exploring censorship and freedom of speech with fellow Keats House Poets Laila Sumpton. She is a Rise Slam Champion (2007), was Poet in Residence at the London Transport Museum (2008), was shortlisted for City read’s Young Writer in Residence (2012) and was selected as the ‘Poet representing Camden’ by Adidas for their Olympic Campaign (2012). She regularly performs her work and organises events and workshops in various settings across the country.

Ian McQuaid is a journalist and DJ. His writing has appeared in The Guardian, Time Out, Vice, DJ Mag and more. He is the contributing editor of music & arts website The Ransom Note, and DJs around London as Oyinboy and Nasty McQuaid.

Shane Solanki is a poet and performer. He is committed to poetry, music and theatre in education and works countrywide as a facilitator and workshop leader with organizations such as A New Direction, Creative Partnerships, Eastside Educational Trust and Bow Arts Trust. He currently resides in Hackney.

# website PEN London magazine

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