Shirley May was elected as an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2020.
Shirley May has performed predominately in the North West, nationally and internationally, appearing at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York and the Calabash writing festival in Jamaica.
She is the director of Young Identity writing collective, which primarily works with 13-25 year-olds. Young Identity works in partnership with Contact Theatre, HOME and MIF. Shirley believes her role is to make both performance and page poetry accessible to young people in Manchester. She has worked for 18 years to promote a culture around performance poetry to make it “cool” and happening by mentoring and supporting new writers in schools and community groups. Shirley and her team of young writers and mentors believe that the voice of young people in writing is as valid as adult writers. She seeks to free “de inna voice”.
Shirley is featured in anthologies by Suitcase Press, and Crocus Books and her first poetry collection, She Wrote Her Own Eulogy, has been published by Wrecking Ball Press.