In conversation with Inua Ellams

Tragedy empowered Inua to try and explain the inexplicable through the power of language. His passion to bear witness, to articulate experiences, however difficult, set him on a journey to become an award winning poet and playwright.

In this talk, Inua reflects on his writing style, his influences and shares his process. This is a fantastic opportunity to hear Inua read his poetry, which he describes as furious and reflective. We hope you will feel inspired and energised by Inua's talk, we certainly were.

Please note, this talk contains strong language and references suicide.

About the speaker

Inua Ellams is a Nigerian born award winning poet, playwright, performer, graphic artist and designer. Identity, displacement and destiny are reoccurring themes in Inua’s work. He mixes the old with the new – combining traditional West African oral storytelling with contemporary poetics, paint with pixel, and texture with vector.

His poetry books include ‘Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales’, ‘Candy Coated Unicorn and Converse’, and 'The Wire-Headed Heathen'. His plays include ‘Black T-shirt Collection’, ‘The 14th Tale’, ‘Barber Shop Chronicles’ and ‘Three Sisters’. He founded The Midnight Run (an arts-filled, night-time, urban walking experience.) The Rhythm and Poetry Party (The R.A.P Party) which celebrates poetry & hip hop, and Poetry + Film / Hack (P+F/H) which celebrates Poetry & Film.

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At a really pivotal moment of my life I find myself leaving everyone that I loved. So part of my growth was understanding how to tell stories... making sure that whoever comes to me will understand where I've come from… (this) has been fundamental to my humanity.

Inua Ellams

Award winning poet, playwright and performer.