Kayo Chingonyi (pronounced kai-o chin-gone-yee) is a fellow of the Complete Works programme for diversity and quality in British Poetry and the author of two pamphlets, Some Bright Elegance
(Salt, 2012) and The Colour of James Brown’s Scream
(Akashic, 2016). His first full-length collection will be published in June 2017 with Chatto & Windus. As well as being widely published in journals and anthologies, Kayo has been invited to read from his work at venues and events across the UK and internationally. In 2012 he represented Zambia at Poetry Parnassus
, a festival of world poets staged by The Southbank Centre as part of the London 2012 Festival.
He was awarded the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize
and shortlisted for the inaugural Brunel University African Poetry Prize
and has completed residencies with Kingston University, Cove Park, First Story, The Nuffield Council on Bioethics, and Royal Holloway University of London in partnership with Counterpoints Arts. He was Associate Poet at the Institute of Contemporary Arts from Autumn 2015 to Spring 2016.
As a creative writing tutor Kayo has devised and delivered workshops for The National Theatre, London School of Economics, Royal Shakespeare Company, YMCA, Poetry Society, English Pen, Half Moon Young People’s Theatre, Pop Up CIC and Apples and Snakes as well countless universities, schools, youth centres and writer’s groups across the UK and internationally. As well as poetry, Kayo leads workshops in collaborative practice, theatre, life writing, fiction, song writing and performance.
As an events producer Kayo has curated events for ICA, Stirling University, The Southbank Centre, Hackney Council, The Freeword Centre, Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Africa Centre, and Comic Relief. As an undergraduate he was co-founder of Word Life, a succesful literary and music event series based in South Yorkshire. In 2013 he co-founded The Blend a monthly arts night featuring the best in comedy, poetry, and music.
‘His language is wonderfully searching, his imagery a series of small doors opening onto a whole house echoing with harmonic play and set with delicate rhythmic trip wires.’ – Jane Draycott (Judge’s Commentary – Geoffrey Dearmer Prize 2012)
‘Chingonyi is always compelling’ – Sheffield Forge
‘The poems published here demonstrate Chingonyi’s craft and his attention to the formal aspects of poetry on the page as well as to the spoken word’ – Sarah Ream, Poetry International Web
‘Kayo weighs each vowel and syllable as if it’s a thing of beauty, which it is, even when the words themselves are breaking your heart’ – Apples and Snakes