NY-LON: bringing together poets from London and New York, a cross-continent poetry connection.

Take part in a captivating evening that celebrates cultural exchange and artistic collaboration, and explores identity, social justice and the complexities of human nature.

We’re joined by Kwame Dawes, Ugochi Nwaogwugwu and Jive Poetic from the US; and Salena Godden and Lemn Sissay from the UK. Hosting will be the wonderful BREIS.

Supported by some of the UK’s freshest new voices and house band, this event transcends borders, uniting cultures through the universal languages of music and poetry.

This event is part of the Speak Up Newcomer programme connecting US & UK poets, produced by Apples and Snakes and Young Identity.


Kwame Dawes

Kwame Dawes has authored 36 books of poetry, fiction, criticism and essays, including NebraskaBivouac and City of Bones: A TestamentSpeak from Here to There, co-written with Australian poet John Kinsella, appeared in 2016. He holds posts at Prairie Schooner, the University of Nebraska, the African Poetry Book Fund, Calabash International Literary Festival and the Academy of American Poets.

Ugochi Nwaogwugwu

Ugochi Nwaogwugwu is a multidisciplinary creative and founder of Spirit Speaks, Inc. Chicago Music Awards named Nwaogwugwu and her band African Soul Ensemble (A.S.E.) Best African Entertainer in 2005 and 2022. Her poems have featured in anthologies Storm Between Two Fingers and Too Young, Too Loud, Too Different. Nwaogwugwu created an original pan-African poetry form called Ike, paying homage to her Igbo heritage of Nigeria.

Jive Poetic

Jive Poetic was one of two poets selected by the US Embassy to represent American slam poetry during an international cultural exchange programme in Poland. He has collected grand slam championship titles internationally. He is founder of Insurgent Poets Society and co-founder of Soundbites Poetry Festival, and hosts the open slam at Nuyorican Poets Cafe.

Lemn Sissay

Lemn Sissay OBE is a poet, playwright, memoirist, performer and broadcaster. He was awarded the PEN Pinter Prize in 2019 for memoir My Name Is Why. His Landmark poems can be seen in public spaces around the UK. With Hans Ulrich Obrist, Sissay co-curated the exhibition Poet Slash Artist for Manchester International Festival 2021. He was previously writer in residence at the Southbank Centre, and was the first poet commissioned to write for the London Olympics 2012.

Salena Godden FRSL

Salena Godden FRSL is an award-winning author, poet and broadcaster of Jamaican-mixed heritage. She is Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a patron of Hastings Book Festival and has been awarded Honorary Fellowship at West Dean. Her debut novel Mrs Death Misses Death won the Indie Book Award for Fiction and the People’s Book Prize, and was shortlisted for the British Book Awards and the Gordon Burn Prize. Film and TV rights for Mrs Death Misses Death have been optioned by Idris Elba’s production company Green Door Pictures. A hardback edition of Pessimism is for Lightweights – 30 Pieces of Courage and Resistance was published by Rough Trade Books in February 2023. Her poem Pessimism is for Lightweights is on permanent display at The Peoples History Museum, Manchester. Godden has signed a 3-book deal with Canongate: she is currently working on a memoir and a poetry collection which are both due for publication in May 2024, plus a second novel set in the Mrs Death Misses Death universe due in spring 2025. 

This event was funded in part by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author[s] and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.

For access information, including details on cloak room, cafes and how to get there, please see the Southbank website.

Event Dates

Sunday 22 Oct, 7.30pm

Southbank Centre

Belvedere Road London, SE1

Tickets £12/ 25% concessions
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