Brighton poets gather in support of refugees

Poets are massing in Brighton on Sunday (December 11) for a ten-hour poetry relay which is on track to raise £30,000 for refugees.


Spokeswoman Vanessa Gebbie: “The Komedia is hosting the largest single gathering of poets in the city's history - from international names to first-time writers, as well as lovers of poetry. All of them are reading poems to bring in sponsorship that will help displaced people.

“From multi-award winning poet Grace Nichols to Attila the Stockbroker, from actor James Wilby to his year's Forward prizewinner, Sarah Howe, an unbroken relay will continue until 10 pm, marshalled by a rota of comperes to keep each reader to precisely eight minutes of stage time. Poets Inua Ellams and Edin Suljic are former refugees.

“Fundraising continues on the day with a tombola and silent auction stocked by local businesses and individuals and pop-up poetry book shop, which promises some rare and collectible titles.

“All proceeds made on the day will go to The School Bus Project, an innovative mobile education initiative. Sponsorship raised by performers - £26,000, and rising - goes to the Refugee Council using the crowdfunding platform JustGiving, which enables 25% extra in Gift Aid.

“The Poem-a-Thon is on Sunday, December 11 from noon to 10 pm, at The Komedia Bar. Entry is free. It is being run organised by a group of poets from Brighton and East Sussex.”

Vanessa offers the following guide to poets and timings:

* Grace Nichols has published many books for both adults and children and has received several awards for her poetry including the Guyana Poetry Prize, The Commonwealth Poetry Prize and a Cholmondley Award. Her latest poetry collections are: Picasso, I Want My Face Back and I Have Crossed An Ocean both published by Bloodaxe Books who will also be publishing her new collection The Insomnia Poems. She was poet-in-residence at the Tate Gallery, London, and is among the poets on the current GCSE syllabus. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

* Attila the Stockbroker started shouting poems in 1980 between bands at punk gigs and has done over 3,300 gigs in 24 countries and published 40 LPs/CDs and seven books of poems. His autobiography Arguments Yard was published last year.

* James Wilby has starred in many films including Howards End, Maurice, A Handful of Dust, Regeneration and Gosford Park. He has also appeared many times on stage and in numerous TV series – most recently ‘Legends’ and ‘Victoria’. He recited poems by Byron and Louis MacNeice for the Charleston festival and poems by Philip Larkin for a Channel Four programme about the poet.

* Sarah Howe's first book, Loop of Jade won the 2016 T.S. Eliot Prize and The Sunday Times / PFD Young Writer of the Year Award. Born in Hong Kong in 1983 to an English father and Chinese mother, she moved to England as a child. Her pamphlet, A Certain Chinese Encyclopedia (Tall-lighthouse, 2009), won an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors.

* Born in Nigeria, Inua Ellams is a cross art form practitioner, a poet, playwright & performer, graphic artist & designer and founder of the Midnight Run — an international, arts-filled, night-time, playful, urban, walking experience. He is a Complete Works poet alumni and a designer at White Space Creative Agency. He has published three books of poetry and several plays.

* Edin Suljic grew up in the multicultural, multinational society of former Yugoslavia, moving to the UK at the onset of the tragic Yugoslavian war in 1991. He studied engineering and theatre, then worked on building trains and in experimental theatre. A committee member of Exiled Writers Ink, in London, he is currently, working on a play and with the Collective, Bards Without Borders.

Final schedule Brighton Poem-a-thon

12.01 Elana Crowley

12.11 Hugh Dunkerley

12.21 Ruth Oliver

12.31 Marion Tracy

12.41 Louisa Tomlinson

12.51 Stephen Plaice

13.01 Michaela Ridgway

13.11 Helen Dixon

13.21 Maude Casey

13.31 Jamie Osborn

13.41 Clare Whistler

13.51 Fawzia Muradali-Kane

14.01 Samira Said

14.11 Maria Jastrzębska

14.21 Ricky Purnell

14.31 Tess Jolly

14.41 Helen Oswald

14.51 Kay Walton

15.01 John Prebble

15.11 Olivia McCannon

15.21 Sonya Smith

15.31 Niyat Asfaha

15.41 Clare Eddison

15.51 Ruth Valentine

16.01 Mandy Pannett

16.11 Camilla Lambert

16.21 Ellen Jones

16.31 Caroline Maldonado

16.41 Lynn Bartlam

16.51 Sarah Hesketh

17.01 Sasha Dugdale

17.11 Edin Suljic

17.21 Annabel Pribelski

17.31 Tab Betts

17.41 Lorna Martin

17.51 Sarah Howe

18.01 Clare Best

18.11 James Wilby

18.21 Grace Nichols

18.31 Janet Sutherland

18.41 Ros Barber

18.51 Kay Syrad

19.01 Vanessa Gebbie

19.11 Ella Dorman-Gajik

19.21 Gareth Strachan

19.31 Séan Baldwin

19.41 Sophie Brown

19.51 Inua Ellams

20.01 Attila

20.11 John Davies

20.21 Deborah Martin

20.31 Marie Ellis

20.41 Sophia Hill

20.51 Daisy Behagg

21.01 Michael James Parker

21.11 Tanaka Mhishi

21.21 Elena Bianco

21.31 Stephanie Norgate

21.41 Sally Jenkinson

21.51 Simon Barraclough

22.01 Jackie Wills

Don't miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you'll be amongst the first to know what's going on.

1) Make our website your homepage

2) Like our Facebook page

3) Follow us on Twitter

4) Register with us by clicking on 'sign in' (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don't miss out!

Always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.