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.
Malika’s Kitchen members post blogs here! e.g. upcoming performances by MPK members, what you are reading, write ups of guest session leaders, short notes of poetry exercises… Read more “Malika’s Kitchen has a website!”
Malika Booker is a British poet of Guyanese and Grenadian Parentage. And the founder of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen. Her pamphlet Breadfruit, (flippedeye, 2007) received a Poetry Society recommendation and her poetry collection Pepper Seed (Peepal Tree Press, 2013) was shortlisted for the OCM Bocas prize and the Seamus Heaney Centre 2014 prize for first full collection. She is published with the Poets Sharon Olds and Warsan Shire in The Penguin Modern Poet Series 3:Your Family: Your Body (2017).
Malika received her MA from Goldsmiths University and has recently begun a PhD at the University of Newcastle. She was the Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow in Creative Writing at Leeds University, the first British poet to be a fellow at Cave Canem, and the inaugural Poet in Residence at The Royal Shakespeare Company.
Malika hosts and curates New Caribbean Voices, Peepal Tree Press’s literary podcast, and is currently a poetry Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University.
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. Roger’s collection, ‘A Portable Paradise‘ won the TS Eliot prize in January 2020.
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).
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 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 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’s debut collection Ticker-tape is published by Nine-arches. It ranges from politics to pop, project management to good old fashioned unrequited love. Rishi’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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 Muftah, Media Diversified, and Skin Deep. He is working on his debut collection of poetry and prose.
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.
Michelle Penn’s debut pamphlet, Self-portrait as a diviner, failing, won the 2018 Paper Swans Pamphlet Prize. Her poems have appeared widely in literary journals, including Shearsman, Magma, Under the Radar, Butcher’s Dog, Popshot, Spillway and The Pedestal. She has also read her work on Resonance FM and was interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 documentary, ‘The Noisy Page.’ Michelle has recently completed a book-length poem that takes The Tempest in rather darker directions. She plans innovative poetry events as part of Corrupted Poetry and also writes fiction. She’s a dual UK/US national.
Read: The Japanese Vase
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.
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 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
Naomi is a photographer, writer and podcaster whose photography includes portraiture and still life. The aim of her work is to be clear, compassionate and honest. She is also interested in opening new dialogues about mental health and chronic invisible illness, living with both conditions herself. You can listen to her podcast ‘The Two of Us’ (originally aired on Reel Rebels Radio) where she talks to writers and artists about their work and how it relates to mental health and emotional well-being.
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.
Zakia Carpenter Hall
Karen McCarthy Wolf
Get in touch with Malika’s Kitchen. However, we are not recruiting new members at this time, as we are full and there is a waiting list. Thank you.