The London Book Fair has announced that award-winning poet, Raymond Antrobus, will headline the Fair’s poetry line-up as Poet of the Fair in March.
Raymond Antrobus has received numerous accolades, including the Poetry Book Society Choice, and took the poetry scene by storm with his electrifying performances at Glastonbury and Latitude. His debut collection The Perseverance, published by Penned in the Margins, has been widely acclaimed for its powerful exploration of the poet’s own British-Jamaican heritage and d/Deaf experience. Antrobus himself is deaf and the book describes his own experience as well stories of other deaf people.
Antrobus will be at the Fair on Wednesday 13 March. He will be in conversation about his work in LBF’s Poet’s Corner, which is sponsored by National Book Council, joining a line-up of poets, publishers, journalists, educators and more.
Figures released in January 2019 reveal poetry sales are at an all-time high, with two thirds of buyers under the age of 34. In 2018 1.3 million volumes of poetry were sold in the UK, an uplift of 12 per cent, with two thirds of buyers aged under 34 (Source: Nielsen via the Guardian).
LBF’s Poet’s Corner will host daily sessions on poetry, with other speakers and organisations confirmed including William Sieghart, Joseph Coelho, One Plum Poems, NCLA, the National Trust, CLPE, and Times Literary Supplement. Kirsty Melville, President and Publisher of Andrews McMeel, will share the inside story on Rupi Kaur, the multi-million selling Instapoet.
Raymond Antrobus commented: “I am honoured and humbled to be appointed the second ever Poet of the Fair. I hope my presence enlivens and advocates for poetry and proves it is an artform living both on and off the page, living democratically among readers of all kinds, younger or older.”
Jacks Thomas, Director at The London Book Fair, said: “Following a record-breaking year of poetry sales in 2018, we’re hugely excited to be continuing to place poetry at the heart of The London Book Fair, and to be hosting our second Poet of the Fair.”
The Poet’s Corner Line-Up, sponsored by National Book Council, Includes:
- Instapoetry: an insider’s guide (Tuesday 12 March, 10am) Kirsty Melville of publisher Andrews McMeel discovered Rupi Kaur, launching Milk and Honey and Kaur’s second book The Sun and Her Flowers to huge success – combined sales are now over 5 million copies. Melville will give the inside story of Instapoetry’s biggest star.
- Redactions / Redirections: Poetry and the Digital – with Theresa Muñoz and Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts (Tuesday 12 March, 1pm)
- In Poetry, Truth: Why Poetry is Good for the Soul, with William Sieghart – William Sieghart in conversation with Nicolette Jones (Tuesday 12 March, 2:30pm)
- Present Poetry: How and Why Poetry is Claiming a Growing Portion of the Gift Market – featuring One Plum Poems, National Trust and Poetry Book Society (Tuesday 12 March, 4pm)
- London Undercurrents – Poems About London’s Unsung Heroines with Joolz Sparkes and Hilaire (Wednesday 13 March, 11:30am)
- Who Do We Think We Are Talking To? – Writing, Publishing and Reviewing Poetry Now – a discussion with TLS editors Michael Caines, Alan Jenkins and Camille Ralphs and guests (Wednesday 13 March, 1pm)
- The Poet of the Fair, Raymond Antrobus, in conversation with Isobel Colchester of Poet in the City (Wednesday 13 March, 4pm)
- Poetry in Schools: the inspiring real life stories behind the figures – presented by Charlotte Hacking of CLPE, with input from Joseph Coelho (Thursday 14 March, 1pm)
- Poetry Home Truths: how poetry can build a community – Catherine Mann of Staffordshire Libraries, Chloe Garner of the Ledbury Festival chaired by John Newman of the Newham Bookshop (Thursday 14 March, 2:30pm).
Poet of the Fair was first introduced at The London Book Fair in 2018 with Imtiaz Dharker as the inaugural Poet of the Fair. Raymond Antrobus will be the second ever Poet of the Fair.
Raymond Antrobus will be in conversation with Isobel Colchester (Poet in the City) in the LBF Poet’s Corner at 4pm on Wednesday 13th March. For the full poetry programme at LBF 2019 please visit the LBF website.
To access our 2019 Poet’s Corner seminar programme, make sure to purchase a Visitor ticket to The London Book Fair here.