Malika’s Poetry Kitchen (MPK) is a writers’ collective founded in 2001 by the award-winning poet Malika Booker, together with Roger Robinson and Jacob Sam La Rose.

Meet the members        Read the poems

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Founders

Malika Booker

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. Malika co-founded Malika’s Poetry Kitchen in 2001 to create a nourishing and encouraging community of writers dedicated to the development of their writing craft.

Roger Robinson

Roger Robinson is a writer, poet, singer, and musician. He is one of the few unrelenting and constant observers of life in Brixton, of post-riot/pre-Brexit Britain. Roger Robinson is one of the most versatile and internationally respected dub poets. He has performed worldwide and is an experienced workshop leader and lecturer on poetry. He was chosen by Decibel as one of 50 writers who have influenced the black-British writing canon. He received commissions from The National Trust, London Open House, The National Portrait Gallery, The V&A, INIVA and Theatre Royal Stratford East where he also was associate artist.

Jacob Sam La Rose

Jacob Sam-La Rose is a poet, educator and editor. Sam-La Rose’s collection Breaking Silence was published by Bloodaxe in Autumn, 2011. He has run workshops and held residencies internationally at hundreds of schools and other institutions. He is particularly well known for his work with youth ‘slam’ poetry initiatives, and his advocacy for the positive impact of new technology on literary practice and collaboration. He has appeared at a wide range of venues and festivals, including Kiasma (Finland), the Centre of Contemporary Art (Glasgow), London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Aldeburgh Literary Festival, the Gwendolyn Brooks Writers’ Conference (Chicago), and The URB Festival (Helsinki).

Current Members

Jill Abram (Director)

Jill Abram has been Director of Malika’s Kitchen since 2010. She grew up in Manchester, travelled the world and now lives in Brixton. She works for BBC Radio, specialising in making sound effects for comedy programmes. Her poems have been published in Under the Radar, The Rialto, Magma, Tears in the Fence, #MeToo Anthology, And Other Poems, The High Window and Ink Sweat & Tears. She performs her poems in London and beyond, including Ledbury Poetry Festival, Paris and USA. Jill produces and presents a variety of poetry events and she created and curates the Stablemates reading series.

Read: My Girl

Dean Atta

Dean Atta is a poet from London. His debut collection, I Am Nobody’s Nigger, published by the Westbourne Press, was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. His poems deal with themes of race, gender, identity and growing up, and have appeared on BBC One, BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service and Channel 4. Dean was named as one of the most influential LGBT people in the UK by the Independent on Sunday. He regularly performs across the UK and internationally and is currently a judge of the 2018 BBC Young Writers’ Award. His debut novel, The Black Flamingo, will be published in August 2019 by Hodder Children’s Books.

Read: I Come From

Fikayo Balogun

Fikayo Balogun is a poet, spoken-word artist and writer. She has performed in England, France, Togo and Nigeria. She was the slam champion at the Farrago festival of spoken word slam, and her poems have been published in several magazines and journals.

Rishi Dastidar

Rishi Dastidar’s debut collection Ticker-tape is published by Nine-arches. It ranges from politics to pop, project management to good old fashioned unrequited loveRishi’s poetry has been published by Financial Times, New Scientist, Tate Modern and London’s Southbank Centre and in The Forward Book of Poetry 2018. He is is a fellow of The Complete Works, the Arts Council England funded programme for poets of colour, he is also a consulting editor at The Rialto magazine,  chair of Spread The Word, and occasionally teaches for the Poetry School. In 2016 he was commissioned by the BBC to write and perform a poem for National Poetry Day.

Read: A leopard parses his concern

Christina Fonthes

Christina Fonthes is a Congolese-British writer. She works in poetry, short stories, performances, and digital art. Her work focuses on womanhood, religion, and sexuality. She completed residencies with Royal Exchange Theatre, HOME Manchester Centre for International Contemporary Art, and Community Arts North West. She is Cofounder of Rainbow Noir, an organisation supporting LGBT people of colour in the north west of England.She is also a member of Women in The Spotlight, a women writers program run by Cultureword Commonword.

Katie Griffiths

The daughter of Northern Irish parents, Katie Griffiths grew up in Ottawa, Canada.  She returned to the UK for university and later worked at Radio Times, as volunteers co-ordinator for refugees of the war in the former Yugoslavia, and as teacher at a further education college.  Her collection My Shrink is Pregnant was joint runner-up in the 2014 Poetry School/Pighog Poetry Pamphlet Competition.  In 2016 she was chosen with three other poets to be in the first edition of Primers, published by Nine Arches Press.  A novel, The Hand-Me-Down Madonna, about the war in the former Yugoslavia, was longlisted in both Mslexia and Cinnamon Press competitions.  She is also a member of Red Door Poets, and is a singer-songwriter in the band A Woman in Goggles.

Read: Words for Sorrow

Mehmet Izbudak

Mehmet was a London based – now Norwich based – playwright and poet, whose daytime jobs included being an Academic Teaching Developer at SOAS and a sessional lecturer at Birkbeck College, University of London. He joined Malika’s Poetry Kitchen in 2014. He is also a member of the South Bank based poetry collective, Tideway Poets. Mehmet is presently working on a translation of Polish poet, Halina Poświatowska’s works.

Read: Minotaur tries to talk

Seraphima Kennedy

Seraphima Kennedy grew up in west London. She writes poetry, creative non-fiction and journalism and her work has been published online and in print in The Guardian, The White Review, Four Hubs, And Other Poems and The Rialto. She has been shortlisted for The White Review Poet’s Prize, longlisted for the 2016 Primers/Poetry School scheme, and performed at Ledbury Poetry Festival and Poetry in Aldeburgh. In 2017 she was selected for the Jerwood/Arvon mentoring programme working with Pascale Petit, and in 2018 she was awarded a grant from Arts Council England to work on a first collection. Seraphima is a proud member of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen.

Maisie Lawrence

Maisie Lawrence is a poet and fiction editor. She works at Bookouture and is a co-founder of Pride in Publishing, a new networking group for LGBTQ+ people who work with books.

Mend Mariwany

Mend Mariwany is a writer, editor, and cultural curator . He was born in Iraq and was raised in Germany before moving to the UK, where he cofounded Bare Lit Festival in 2016. Mend has organised arts events and storytelling performances and worked with a range of magazines, including MuftahMedia Diversified, and Skin Deep. He is working on his debut collection of poetry and prose.

Soul Patel

Soul is a London based poet. The themes of family and love are key to his poetry. Soul placed third in the Magma Competition in 2016, was long listed in the National Poetry Competition 2016 and 2017, was a Troubadour International Poetry Prize Winner in 2017, and was shortlisted for the Complete Works Poetry programme. He is working towards his first pamphlet.

Peter Raynard

Peter Raynard’s debut collection Precarious was published by Smokestack Books in 2018. It features poems about masculinity, class and mental health. His long poem The Combination: a poetic coupling of the Communist Manifesto was published by Culture Matters. He is the editor of Proletarian Poetry: poems of working class lives , which has featured over 130 contemporary poets. Peter is disabled with poly-endocrine disorder and all the accompanying cerebral side effects of depression, chronic fatigue, and anxiety.

Read: The King With Two Shoes in His Name

Yomi Sode

Born in Oyo State, Nigeria, Yomi Sode is a spoken word artist, poet and MC. He has appeared at Yahoo! Wireless Festival, Latitude, Lovebox, Olympic Village, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Channel 4 and BBC Radio 1xtra, and has had work commissioned by The Mayor’s Office and BBC World Service/ BBC Africa. Yomi was selected as one of ten Poets to join The Complete Works in 2016, a national development programme for advanced Black and Asian writers. He has been published in Rialto Magazine, Bare Lit and 10: Poets of the New Generation.

Joolz Sparkes

Joolz Sparkes is published in magazines such as Magma, South Bank Poetry, the Persister’s Zine, Shooter Literary Magazine, Ink, Sweat & Tears and in The Other Side of Violet and Loose Muse anthologies. She was Poet in Residence at Leicester Square tube station, shortlisted for Bridport Poetry Prize and featured at Ledbury Poetry Festival. In 2018 she was awarded Arts Council funding for Research and Development of London Undercurrents – a joint project with the poet Hilaire, which uncovers the voices of women, real and imagined, who have lived in Battersea and Islington over many centuries. London Undercurrents will be published by Holland Park Press in 2019.

Read: Mussels at low tide

More About MPK

Malika’s Poetry Kitchen (MPK) is a writers’ collective based in London. It was founded in 2001 by Malika Booker, Roger Robinson and Jacob Sam La Rose, and is currently directed by Jill Abram. It offers bi-weekly writers surgeries and has supported writers including Inua Ellams, Warsan Shire and Aoife Mannix with guest tutors including Kei Miller, Jo Bell and Mona Arshi.

The emphasis of the group has always been on craft, community and development. Writing can be a lonely activity but members of our group benefit from, as well as contribute to, the support of fellow poets. We normally meet 6 times a term (3 terms a year) on Friday evenings for 2 hours at the Poetry School.  At least four of the sessions per term generate new writing and we usually end with feedback on work in progress.

The organisation has inspired Malika’s Poetry Kitchen models worldwide from Chicago to Delhi.

Alumni

Tolu Agbelusi

Fikayo Balogun

Khairani Barokka

Tara Betts

Rajesh Bhardwaj

Kirsten Brown

Jamila Barrett

Zakia Carpenter Hall

Kayo Chingonyi

Joey Connolly

Anne Cooper 

Paula David

Denrele

Anna Dolezal

Cath Drake

Inua Ellams

Patricia Foster

Martin Hill

Cyril Husbands

Caroline Hussey-Bain

Peter Kahn

Zubaria Lone

Nick Makoha

Harry Man

Aoife Mannix

Be Manzini

Melanie Mauthner

Karen McCarthy Wolf

Melanie McKay

Selina Nwulu

Denise Saul

Jocelyn Page

Nii Parkes

Janett Plummer

Esther Poyer

Rosanna Raymond

Bernadette Reed

Sarah Reilly

Mary Renouf

Roger Robinson

Michael Scott

Warsan Shire

Dorothea Smartt

Yomi Sode

Heather Taylor

Nathalie Teitler

Gemma Weekes

Contact

Get in touch with Malika’s Kitchen.