The shortlist for the role of Nottingham’s Young Poet Laureate is announced today. 

The shortlist of 4 local poets was selected by a panel of five judges:  Nottingham City of Literature patron, Panya Banjoko; London’s Young People’s Laureate, Caleb Femi; founder of Nottingham’s Poetry Festival, Henry Normal; founder of Nottingham’s Mouthy Poets, Debris Stevenson; and Director of Nottingham City of Literature, Sandeep Mahal.

The list was chosen from 18 submissions and the jury read 36 single poems and viewed over 30 video performances.

Congratulations to our four shortlisted poets; each a winner in their own right. Our shortlist showcases a diverse spectrum in voices and poetic styles, and together, they are representative of Nottingham’s own life-affirming and rebellious spirit.

Sandeep Mahal, Director of Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature said: “If one thing has struck me in the year I’ve been in Nottingham it’s the incredible breadth, diversity and intense energy of the local poetry scene. Across the UK, poetry is having a strong resurgence, with sales of poetry books smashing £10million for the first time ever. Nottingham is a key player in this renaissance. Poetry slams and spoken word nights are bringing words to life almost nightly across the city, and it has been a delight to watch this grassroots scene flourish. Congratulations to our four shortlisted poets. Our shortlist showcases a diverse spectrum in voices and poetic styles, and together, they represent Nottingham’s own life-affirming and rebellious spirit.”

The 2017 shortlist is:

Cleo Asabre-Holt

Cleo is a Nottingham-based Spoken Word Poet and creative writing Workshop Facilitator who has performed throughout the Midlands, London, and internationally. Cleo has also performed widely in Nottingham including headline and feature slots for Hockley Hustle, Poetercize, and Poetry is Dead Good. Always one for wearing her heart on her sleeve, Cleo’s poetry is an honest exploration of nature, relationships, childhood, and the urge to dance. She’s also unafraid to tackle vulnerable issues such as mental illness and societal discomfort. Cleo was recently awarded the prestigious M3C Scholarship to undertake a Masters in Creative Writing at The University of Nottingham.

Read our Q&A with Cleo

Tyrone Moran-Healy

Ty Healy is a rapper/poet from Nottingham, England. Between being one of the frontmen for legendary Nottingham collective ‘1st Blood’ & one half of DJ and Rapper duo ‘Green Ratt’, Ty Healy has since started to work on solo material which has taken the spoken word route. The poetry side of this art form has taken centre stage as Ty establishes himself in the local Nottingham poetry community. His new spoken word project is due to be released called #BURY – a collection of poems recited over lush production inspired by various other genres of music.

Read our Q&A with Tyrone

Chris McLoughlin

Chris is a writer and workshop facilitator based in Nottingham. Chris’ writing focusses primarily on mental health and enabling others to discuss grief through writing. His aim is to create a platform for those suffering silently, and for readers and audiences to feel less alone. Chris has received a Distinction in MA Creative Writing from the University of Nottingham, been Artistic Director of Mouthy Poets, and is now pursuing a full-time career in writing.

Read our Q&A with Chris

Georgina Wilding

Georgina is the Founding Editor of Mud Press – Nottingham’s own independent poetry publishing house. She’s been commissioned by organisations such as the BBC to write and perform for both radio and TV, has toured her poetry across the UK and Germany, and recently performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She has a first class degree in Creative and Professional Writing from the University of Nottingham, and began her career in poetry working within the spoken word collective, Mouthy Poets.

Read our Q&A with Georgina

Watch the poets perform on 19th September 2017

The four poets will perform at the ‘Poetry Is Dead Good’ on 19th September 2017, at the Angel, Stoney Street between 7-10pm. This will be an ideal opportunity to see the poets do what they do best. The winner of the title Nottingham Young Poet Laureate will be announced on National Poetry Day, 28th September 2017.