Masterclass with Patricia Smith and Malika Booker

Masterclass with Patricia Smith and Malika Booker

Learn what it takes to write poetry which speaks in an authentic voice.

How does a poet recreate their own experiences on the page? And how do they make people empathise with that experience?

In this special one-off masterclass, Pushcart Prize-winning African American poet Patricia Smith will give participants a taste of what it takes to write poetry which speaks in an authentic voice. She will be joined by Forward Prize judge Malika Booker, whose book Pepper Seed drew on her own heritage for its inspiration.

This is a half-day workshop, running 10:30 – 13:30.

This workshop is part of The Golden Shovel Anthology UK launch, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of the first African American Poet Laureate, Gwendolyn Brooks, and is supported by Speaking Volumes Live Literature Productions through Arts Council England.

About Patricia Smith and Malika Booker Profile photo of Patricia Smith and Malika Booker View Profile

Patricia Smith is the author of six critically-acknowledged volumes of poetry, including Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, which was awarded the Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress, was the winner of the 2013 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy American Poets, and was a finalist for the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America; Blood Dazzler, a National Book Award finalist; Teahouse of the Almighty, a National Poetry Series winner (all from Coffee House Press); Close to Death and Big Towns, Big Talk (both from Zoland Books), and Life According to Motown, just released in a special 20th anniversary edition (Tia Chucha Press). She is a Cave Canem faculty member, a professor of English at CUNY/College of Staten Island and a faculty member of the Sierra Nevada MFA program.

Malika Booker is a British writer, poet and multi-disciplinary artist of Guyanese and Grenadian parentage. She is the founder of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen. Her poetry collection Pepper Seed was published by Peepal Tree Press (2013) and longlisted for the OCM Bocas 2014 prize and shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre prize for first full collection 2014. Her 2017 publication is The Penguin Modern Poet Series 3: Your Family: Your Body, where she is published with poets Sharon Olds and Warsan Shire. Malika was inaugural Poet in Residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company. She was also the first British poet to be a fellow at Cave Canem, the prestigious African American poetry organisation and is currently the Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow in Creative Writing at University of Leeds.


"The one course I've attended at the Poetry School was like being given a key to a treasure trove. It's has helped me understand the relevance, importance & gift of poetry...It feels like the beginning of an exciting journey & I'm really happy & can't thank you enough!”

– Spring 2017 survey response

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