Jasmin is part of SPINE Festival 2024, along with an incredible team of poets they’ll be leading workshops and arts activities for children in Libraries and schools across London this Spring.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

Socially anxious extrovert

What inspires you?

Disabled people being badass, women being badass, people of colour being badass, immigrants being badass, and any brilliant writing that makes my palms tingle.

Tell us about your worst ever gig?

I showed up with poems for 7 to 11 year olds and found an audience of mostly 3 to five year olds. Like a true amateur I had not prepared anything as backup. Tried desperately to be as big and flamboyant as I could to compensate but the poetry went straight over the little ones’ heads.

What’s your number one poetry pet peeve?

Rhyming using the exact same words. Doesn’t happen often but always makes me inwardly cringe.

Whose words do you love at the moment?

I keep going back to Carol Ann Duffy, Patience Agbabi and Joseph Coelho. Limiting it to just one is just cruel.

What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

Try everything; something will stick eventually. Call your friends. People who say they love you probably do, so believe them. Try not to worry so much; things will start to make more sense after 25. When in doubt, jump on a bouncy castle, ride a roller coaster, watch some Winnie the Pooh, or do something your child self loved – she needs love too.

How do you relate to the themes of magic & imagination?

Escaping into imagination land was my way out of an abusive and traumatic upbringing (climbing up the Faraway Tree, and going on my own Pokemon adventures were particular favourites). I still retreat to imagination land today to help cope with difficult times in life, like not being able to sleep at 3am. Also, magic + imagination = Disney = one of my favourite things.

What do you enjoy most about working with children, families and libraries?

Watching families make meaningful memories through creating art and having fun together. There’s nothing more precious. Also, children say the most insightful, quirky, and hilarious things – I treasure every one.

Do you prefer breakfast, lunch, or dinner?

Definitely dinner. You can have breakfast for dinner. But you usually don’t have enough appetite to appreciate dinner for breakfast. More options = a happier me.

About Jasmin Thien

Jasmin Thien was born and raised in Brunei before coming to the UK in 2017 to read an undergraduate degree in Education, English, Drama and the Arts at the University of Cambridge.

As a fully blind artist of colour, her work focuses on narratives of marginalization and the nuances of occupying space between various intersectionalities. Some of her poems will feature in the Spin Anthology published by Otter Barry Books in spring 2024 – her debut into publication.

Besides writing and performing poetry, she also works as an actor, playwright, stand up comedian and workshop facilitator.

Insta: @jasmin.thien

Twitter: @jasmin.thien