We are thrilled to launch the Write Across London Poetry Map – showcasing the creativity of Londoners and celebrating the power of poetry to bring us together in times of isolation.
In April 2020, the Museum of London put out an open call for submissions of both objects and first-hand experiences to reflect Londoners’ lives during the COVID-19 pandemic and received a huge number of poems. Inspired by this, we launched Write Across London to create a poetic snapshot of the city at an historic moment in its life. So far, we have collected 60 poems which you can read by travelling across this virtual poetry trail.
Whatever stage you’re at in your writing life, and wherever you live in London, you can submit a poem.
If you need some inspiration, the Write Across London Poet Ambassadors have been writing collaboratively – watch them talk about their process of writing together while miles apart.
Write Across London Poet Ambassadors are RSL Chair Daljit Nagra, Raymond Antrobus, Natalie Linh Bolderstone, Imtiaz Dharker, Inua Ellams, Jamie Hale, Mimi Khalvati, Cecilia Knapp and Theresa Lola.
We hope you are inspired to write a poem, either on your own or with a friend, and celebrate the power of poetry to bring us together!
This programme is specifically to encourage the creativity of those who have been worst affected or most compromised by the pandemic across London – people of colour, people from lower socio-economic backgrounds, older people, disabled people and those with pre-existing medical conditions.
We are grateful to the London Community Response Fund and City Bridge Trust, the funding arm of the City of London Corporation’s charity Bridge House Estates, for supporting this programme.
Write Across London Poet Ambassadors:
Raymond Antrobus FRSL is the author of To Sweeten Bitter and The Perseverance. In 2019 he became the first ever poet to be awarded the Rathbones Folio Prize for best work of literature in any genre. He is the recipient of Fellowships from Cave Canem, The Complete Works 3 and Jerwood Compton.
Natalie Linh Bolderston is a Vietnamese-Chinese-British poet. She was a runner-up in the 2019 BBC Proms Poetry Competition, came third in the 2019 National Poetry Competition, and received an Eric Gregory Award in 2020.
Jeremiah ‘SugarJ’ Brown is a Black British-Jamaican writer and performer based in Croydon. His debut solo show Likkle Rum with Grandma is a journey of mortality, migration and identity. Jeremiah’s commissions include Nationwide Building Society, St Paul’s Cathedral, Barbican and The Poetry Society.
Imtiaz Dharker FRSL is a poet, artist and video film maker, awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2014. She has been Poet in Residence at Cambridge University Library. Her six collections include Over the Moon and the latest, Luck is the Hook.
Inua Ellams is an award-winning poet, playwright and founder of the Midnight Run born in Nigeria. His books are published by Flipped Eye, Akashic, Nine Arches and Oberon.
Jamie Hale is a cross-disciplinary creative – a curator, poet, writer, playwright, live artist, actor, and director. They are also an expert in disability, and health and social care policy.
Mimi Khalvati FRSL was born in Tehran and has lived most of her life in London. She has published nine collections, including The Meanest Flower, shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize 2007. She is the founder of The Poetry School and her new collection, Afterwardness is a book of the year in The Sunday Times and The Guardian.
Cecilia Knapp is a poet, playwright and novelist and the current Young People’s Laureate for London. She has shared her writing extensively in the UK and internationally including residencies and performances in Johannesburg and Paris. She’s a former resident artist at The Roundhouse and a Ted X speaker.
Theresa Lola is a British Nigerian poet. She won the 2018 Brunel International African Poetry Prize. She was the 2019/2020 Young People’s Laureate for London. Her debut poetry collection In Search of Equilibrium was published by Nine Arches Press.
Dajlit Nagra FRSL is Chair of the RSL and the inaugural Poet-in-Residence for Radio 4 & 4 Extra. He presents the weekly Poetry Extra and teaches at Brunel University London. His four poetry collections have won the Forward Prize for Best Individual Poem and Best First Collection, the South Bank Show Decibel Award and the Cholmondeley Award.