Jawdance is London’s biggest poetry night featuring some of the best names on the Spoken Word scene. It returns on Wednesday 21 February 2024 at Rich Mix in London!
For the first Jawdance of 2024 ,we welcome host Kat François and an award-winning line up:
Jason Allen-Paisant – Self Portrait as Othello (Carcanet), Forward Poetry Prize 2023 and TS Eliot Poetry Prize winner 2023 with the same title.
Malika Booker – ‘Libation’ (The Poetry Review), Forward Prize 2023
Bohdan Piasecki – ‘Almost Certainly’ Forward Prize 2023
This incredible line up have won many awards and accolades between them, but are specifically Forward Prizes For Poetry 2023 winners. Forward Arts Foundation are our partners this this event. We’re setting the bar high for all things poetry and spoken word for the rest of the year.
We hope you’re not too intimidated because along side these greats is the public open mic. Open mic names are chosen by names drawn from a hat at random. Everyone is welcome to add their name to the hat.
Jawdance is a supportive environment and welcomes first-timers and those who are well-seasoned.
Host: Kat Francois
Kat Francois was the first person to win a televised poetry slam in the UK, a year later she won the World Slam Championships. As a playwright, Kat has written and performed two internationally staged solo plays, and two comedy shows.
Raising Lazarus, Kat’s play dealing with the experiences of Caribbean soldiers in World War One, continues to tour globally to critical acclaim, and formed part of the WW1 centenary and featured at Imperial War Museum.
Kat has worked with young people for many years, as a youth worker, PHSE Facilitator, also teaching dance, drama, creative writing, poetry and performance skills and school slams. She is an established playwright and director of youth theatre, devising and directing plays for theatres including Theatre Royal Stratford East, Roundhouse Camden, Lyric Theatre Hammersmith. She provides youth and adult coaching in creative writing and performance, as well as Life Coaching through the creative process.
Kat continues to teach and perform globally, currently pushing her art form through movement and hula hoop. Her short story, Indigo Waters, is featured in Hidden Realms, Short Stories, published by Flame Tree Publishing.
Malika Booker is an international writer whose work is steeped in anthropological research methodology and rooted in storytelling. Her writing spans poetry, theatre, monologue, installation, and education. Clients and organisations she has worked with include Arts Council England, BBC, British Council, Wellcome Trust, National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Arvon, and Hampton Court Palace
Bohdan Piasecki is a poet from Poland based in Birmingham. A committed performer, he has taken his poems from the upstairs room in an Eastbourne pub to the main stage of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, from underground Tokyo clubs to tramways in Paris, from a bookshop in Beijing to an airfield in Germany, from niche podcasts to BBC Radio. He enjoys the creative chaos of big field festivals just as much as the composed concentration of literary events. Bohdan was awarded the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem: Performed in 2023, the category’s inaugural year.
Bohdan founded the first poetry slam in Poland before moving to the UK to get a doctorate in translation studies. He has worked as Director of Education on the Spoken Word in Education MA course at Goldsmiths University, and was the Midlands Producer for Apples and Snakes between 2010 and 2017. He is Assistant Professor in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham. He also works as Creative Producer, and sits on the board of the Poetry Translation Centre.
Jason Allen-Paisant is a scholar, award-winning poet, and writer. His work explores the ways in which Afro-diasporic artists and communities shape their futures through embodied, living philosophies. His work is deeply concerned with poetry, and the overlaps between poetry and philosophy.
Jason’s first book of poems Thinking with Trees won the poetry category of the 2022 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature; it was also shortlisted for the Michael Murphy Memorial Prize. His second, Self-Portrait as Othello, is a Poetry Book Society Choice and the winner of the 2023 Forward Prize for Best Collection; it is currently shortlisted for the 2023 T. S. Eliot Prize. Recent commissions for written work and embodied, multimedia performances have come from the Manchester Art Gallery, the Cincinnati Art Museum and LUX Moving Image (London).