literature & poetry

Spread the Word: London Writers Awards Showcase

Part of London Literature Festival

Hear new poetry from the six winners of the London Writers Awards: Annie Hayter, Helen Bowell, Jamie Hale, Jemilea Wisdom-Baako, Lily Paine and Merrie Joy Williams.

From Hong Kong to the English countryside, through interrogations of the womb as a living archive, to the self-preserving act of finding hope in the darkest of spaces, arriving as visions between myths of past and present, these poets reflect the diversity and richness of poetry in London today.

The London Writers Awards is writer development agency Spread the Word’s annual development programme for talented London writers.

The aim of the Awards is to increase the number of writers from under-represented communities being taken up by agents and publishers, and is funded by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Arts Council England and supported by ALCS.

Annie Hayter embraces the queerness of writing about herself. She has always been drawn to relics, and in her first pamphlet, Red Lines, she deconstructs mythologies both banal and sacred.

She is a Barbican Young Poet 2017 – 2018. She read her work on Radio 3 as part of a collaborative performance of David Lang’s Memorial Ground, speaking in tandem with the voices of the BBC Symphony Chorus.

Helen Bowell is a graduate of the London Writers Awards and The Writing Squad and co-founder of the Dead [Women] Poets Society. She is currently a London Library Emerging Writer.

Her work has appeared in?Strix, The Manchester Review and Introduction X: The Poetry Business Book of New Poets. She works at The Poetry Society.

Jamie Hale is a poet and essayist whose creative work narrates the agency and urgency of living as a disabled person in the world, exploring the intimate connections between the body and nature, medical artificiality and the frailty of the biosphere.

They have recently performed their poetry at Tate Modern, Saboteur Awards and the Lyric Hammersmith, and have had writing published in Poetry Quarterly, The Rialto and The Guardian. Their solo poetry show NOT DYING debuts at the Barbican.

Jemilea Wisdom-Baako is a British-Jamaican poet, writer, facilitator and creative director. She runs the art organisation Writerz and Scribez CIC delivering poetry workshops with marginalised communities.

Her work has been widely commissioned and appears in Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Good Journal, Platypus Press Anthology and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the 2018 London Writers Award for poetry and was shortlisted for the Rebecca Swift Women's Poetry Prize 2018.

Lily Paine is an artist, poet and autodidact. Her poetry has appeared in written and oral form at a number of London galleries including Beaconsfield, Morley Gallery and The Bonnington Centre; and more recently her work has appeared in the pop-up exhibition Sidestep.

She is currently collaborating with the artist Siobhan Liddell for an exhibition in New York while developing new poetry work for her first pamphlet.

Merrie Joy Williams is a poet, novelist, librettist, reviewer, and educator. Her work has featured in The Interpreter’s House, The Colour of Madness anthology and Manchester: A New Alphabet.

A recent poet-in-residence at MMU’s Special Collections, in 2016, she received an Arts Council award for her debut novel, SO. Williams reads from her debut poetry collection, Open Windows.

Dates & times

22 Oct 2019
Approximate run time: 75 mins
Run times may vary, find out more


Royal Festival Hall
Blue Room, Level 1


Booking fee: £3.00 (Members £0.00)


25% off (limited availability)
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need to know

Age recommendation
For ages 16+

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