Poet Shaniqua Benjamin stands at a microphone. She wears black glasses, has hooped earrings and has shoulder length black hair tied back. Shaniqua wears a navy cardigan with white piping. She smiles as she performs.

From baby poet to Croydon Poet Laureate

From baby poet to Croydon Poet Laureate By: Shaniqua Benjamin Although I’ve always loved writing, I stayed away from poetry until my early 20s. Fashion design had been my focus, so when I dropped out of university to pursue a career in writing and eventually discovered that poetry was the avenue for me, it was…

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An image of Poet Miss Jacqui, She has long black hair and wears an orange hoodie, she also has a brown, orange and white coat on, she wears brown trousers. She smiles at the camera, her left hand rests on the blue controls of her wheelchair.

Miss Jacqui

Miss Jacqui 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… Respectfully honest, Goofball, passionate. What inspires you?  Family and the communities I come from. Tell us about your worst…

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An image of poet Adam Kammerling. He wears a blue shirt and black trousers, he wears black trainers. His arms are outstretched to each side of his body as he smiles at the camera. He has long shoulder length brown hair and a brown beard.

Adam Kammerling

Adam 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… Playful, messy, grumpy  What inspires you? Heavy metal. And heavy metal flavours wherever I can find them. Any sense of awe…

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An image of artist Nancy Ellis, she stand in a green park next to aa tree an holds an orange book and a blue book. She wears a blue hoodie with some white writing on the form and blu jeans. She has shoulder length hair and smiles at the camera.

Nancy Ellis

Nancy Ellis is part of SPINE Festival 2024, along with an incredible team of creatives they’ll be leading workshops and arts activities for children in Libraries and schools across London this Spring. Describe yourself in 3 words… No Frills Genuine Understanding What inspires you? Everyone with something genuinely meaningful to share or express, across all professions…

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An image of poet Justin Coe, he has short brown hair and wears a blue jacket with an organ shirt underneath. He holds a book in front of him and looks at it. He is wearing black trousers and black shoes.

Justin Coe

Justin 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… Not Mr Tumble  What inspires you? There’s a poem in anything. Today is all about biscuits and bicycles –…

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An image of poet Linden McMahon, Linden has short brown hair and wears glasses. They have a flowery shirt and black dungarees. The sit on a white pedestal and were black boots.

Linden McMahon

Linden 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… Just a hopepunk hobbit What inspires you? At the moment I write a lot about the ecosystems we’re part of;…

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Artist Alim Kamara, he is squatted on his haunches, he wears a grey t-shirt and blue jeans. He wears black headphones over his ears and has short black hair. He holds a small instrument in his hands called an Mbira. You can pluck the metal prongs to make a sound.

Alim Kamara

Alim is 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… Alim (means scholar), ‘quiet extrovert’  What inspires you? It can feel like inspiration comes out of thin air, but I…

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An image if artist Gunes Given, she holds a green book. She has brown shoulder length hair and wears a blue sleeveless cardigan with a black and white stripy top underneath. She wears blue jeans and yellow sneakers. She smiles at the camera.

Günes Güven

Güneş 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… Introspective Discerning Versatile or Force of Nature What inspires you? Nature has always been my inspiration, however, nowadays my…

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An image of poet Rachel Lewis. She has shoulder length brown hair. She smiles at the camera and holds a blue book covered in stickers. She wears a brown jumper and black trousers.

Rachel Lewis

Rachel 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… Hard to summarise.  What inspires you? There’s a Terry Pratchett novel where he describes inspiration particles sleeting through the…

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An image of poet Ehireme Omoaka. He has long black hair and wears a black hoodie and Green trousers. He is smiling in the image.

Ehireme Omoaka

Ehireme 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… Observant chilled playful What inspires you? Other artists that push boundaries. Music that has meaningful messages. My children.  Tell…

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Zohab Zee Khan

Zohab 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… Globetrotting Poetic Adventurer. What inspires you? Those in my family that came before me. The last four generations of my…

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Eileen Gbagbo

Eileen 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… Nerdy, introverted, auntie. What inspires you? The community of Black British poets, writers and creatives that came before my…

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Paul Lyalls

Zohab 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… Go Go Go What inspires you? Hearing and reading many of the poets I am blessed to come into contact…

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Alice Frecknall

Alice 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… Awkward lil’ geek. What inspires you? People and art. And people making art. In a living, breathing, needful way….

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Jasmin Thien

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…

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Desree

Desree 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… Passionate, awkward, and silly!  What inspires you? Everything and everyone. Daily, I get to meet people who are trying…

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Lesley Hayes

Describe yourself in 3 words…  Resilient, playful, thinker. Rebel.   What inspires you?  Misunderstandings and all the words that cannot or have not been said. Writing is like setting the hamsters of rage loose on the travelator of creativity. I am learning to harness the hamsters, without hurting them…  More specifically, I write about illness, abuse,…

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Amy Brangwyn

Describe yourself in 3 words… wend / weft / weave What inspires you? The fluidity of possibility for change. The way injustice builds a fire in our belly so that flames froth from our mouths in a fierce torrent. The paradox of being human and bearing witness to so much beauty and so much suffering….

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Eryn McDonald

Describe yourself in 3 words… Anxious, angry, gentle. What inspires you? Emotions and observations. I am outwardly not the angriest of people but I channel a lot of my rage into my work. I am inspired by the people around me, by kindness, resilience, and weird interactions. More recently I’ve been inspired by the seasonal…

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Lauren Temple

Describe yourself in 3 words… Eccentric. Honest. Passionate. What inspires you? Whatever makes me feel really excited! People, places, things… as long as they give me those pins and needles of excitement, it’s like lemonade fizzing through me. Often I feel inspired by the residents at the care home where I work and by the…

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Valentina Huxley

Describe yourself in 3 words… Curious, dream-oriented and my housemate just said ‘spunky’ haha What inspires you? REVOLUTION! When I chat to people about changing the world, I zoom out of myself and into collective consciousness- this is such an authentic sweet spot to create from. I am also obsessed with queer ecology and mythology….

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Dan Loops

Describe yourself in 3 words… Humorous, Versatile, Insatiable  What inspires you? The cliche, yet true answer is life. I find moments inspiring, from insurmountable sadness to boundless love.  Tell us about your worst ever gig? I once played a gig in a pub to just the sound man, not a single punter entered during the…

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Bhumika Billa

Describe yourself in 3 words… ‘Alive’, I think. Close friends call me a ‘hustler’ (I asked only the ones that like me these days!). My aspirational description would be ‘kind’. What inspires you? Anger on most days, at how unjust the world is. On better ones, beauty of all kinds—in places and people.  Tell us…

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Amy Langdown

Describe yourself in 3 words… Quirky – Vibrant – Stubborn What inspires you? This, I suppose, is an answer of contradiction. What inspires me to write does not inspire me. Often I write because of the feeling that I must – I often write about the current political climate (which is not what I would…

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