Nii Ayikwei Parkes is an author and performance poet who has performed on major stages across the world, including at The Royal Festival Hall and at a reading for the London Mayor’s vigil on July 14, 2005 (in response to the London bombings). He is the author of the poetry chapbooks: eyes of a boy, lips of a man (1999) and M is for Madrigal (2004), a selection of seven jazz poems. His poem, ‘Tin Roof’, was selected for the ‘Poems on the Underground’ initiative in 2007 and his debut novel, Tail of the Blue Bird, was released in June 2009 by Jonathan Cape.
Nii is also the Senior Editor at flipped eye publishing, a contributing editor to The Liberal, a former poet in residence at The Poetry Cafe, the 2005 associate writer in residence on BBC Radio 3, and has held visiting positions at the University of Southampton and California State University.
As a socio-cultural commentator and advocate for African writing, Nii has led forums internationally, has sat on discussion panels for BBC Radio with literary heavyweights such as Booker winners, Margaret Atwood and A.S. Byatt, and he runs the African Writers’ Evening series, at the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden. In addition to his published work for adults, Nii has written for and run several workshops for younger readers. He was Children’s poet in residence at the Brighton Festival in 2007, has led storytelling sessions at the Southbank Centre and British Museum and his poem Wrong Side has been memorised by hundreds of pupils across the UK. In 2007 he was awarded Ghana’s National ACRAG award for poetry and literary advocacy.
Poetry, Novels, Short Stories, Childrens
Publications & Performance History
The Makings of You (poetry, Peepal Tree Press, 2010) ballast: a remix (poetry pamphlet, tall-lighthouse, 2009) Tail of the Blue Bird (novel, Jonathan Cape, 2009) Ballast (poetry pamphlet, Achiote Press, US 2009) SOLD OUT British Council Literary Lunches, Brussels, Belgium (Invited Writer, 2008) Excerpt from Afterbirth published in the New Writing Anthology: Volume 15 (Granta, 2007) The Cost of Red Eyes (manuscript, profiled on the BBC World Service, 2006) Austin International Poetry Festival, US (2005) Roskilde Festival, Denmark (2005) M is for Madrigal (Tall Lighthouse, 2004) Austin International Poetry Festival, Texas, USA (2003) Redbridge Literature Festival, London, UK (2003) eyes of a boy, lips of a man (flipped eye, 1999, 2001)
Workshop & Reading Experience
Absolute Poetry Festival, Italy (Invited Poet, 2008) Lancaster Literature Festival, UK (2007) Brighton Festival, UK (Children�s Writer-in-Residence, 2007) Folkestone Literary Festival, UK (2006) Baobab Cultural Center, Rochester NY (Writer-in-Residence, 2006) Africa 2005 Associate Writer-In-Residence, BBC, London, UK (2005) Poole Word and Book Festival, UK (2004) Birmingham Young Readers Festival, UK (2004) Middlesex University Literary Festival, UK (2004) Lancaster Literature Festival, UK (2003) V&A Museum (Writer-in-Residence, 2003) Poetry Caf�, London, UK (Writer-in-Residence, 2003)
Available on request
Group size preference
Group age preference
Area prepared to travel
North West & North East
I prefer a group size of up to 20 for workshops but for readings I don’t mind what size the group is. I also work with all age groups, but the requirement should be appropriate to the group e.g. I couldn’t run a workshop or read for a long period with very young children; they would get restless.