Canongate scoops 'electric' Black British poetry anthology

Canongate scoops 'electric' Black British poetry anthology

Canongate has landed More Fiya, a poetry anthology by Black British poets edited, curated and introduced by Kayo Chingonyi.

Publishing director Francis Bickmore acquired world English rights to the anothology, which will publish as a lead hardback in May 2022, alongside a hardback reissue of The Fire People, edited by Lemn Sissay and first published in 1998. The publication of both books will be supported by immersive live UK events, featuring poetry, music and spoken word from the contributors.

The synopsis to More Fiya explains: "In this blistering anthology, poet, editor, and DJ Kayo Chingonyi brings together a selection of exceptional Black British poets. This is his dream mixtape featuring a cross-generational span of poets extending and inhabiting the spirits of the ancestors. Following in the tread of The Fire People, More Fiya aims to lodge in the mind of its readers for a lifetime, radiating to touch the lives of many."

Chingonyi is the author of Kumukanda, which won the Dylan Thomas Prize and a Somerset Maugham Award and was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Prize, the Seamus Heaney Centre First Poetry Collection Prize, the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry, the Roehampton Poetry Prize and the Jhalak Prize. His latest book is A Blood Condition (Chatto). He has performed his work at festivals and events around the world, is outgoing Poetry editor for The White Review, an assistant professor of creative writing at Durham University, and writer and presenter for Decode, a music and culture podcast.

Commenting on his most recent work, Chingonyi said: "The original Fire People anthology has been crucial to my poetics and my sense of entitlement to take up space as a writer and editor. It is my distinct honour to edit its younger sibling and to cast a spotlight on the range, ingenuity, and grace of Black British poets writing today. In its own way, I hope this anthology bolsters and emboldens minoritised writers while complicating our collective sense as readers, writers, editors, agents, academics, and cultural programmers of what poetic practice looks like today and how it might look in the future. Canongate have shown themselves time and again to be ahead of the curve and so it’s especially gratifying for this anthology to be coming out with the press that brought Lemn Sissay and Patience Agbabi to a wider audience as well as publishing The Fire People."

Bickmore added: "Britain has a long-standing and electric living tradition of poetry from writers of colour. Edited by Lemn Sissay, The Fire People took the temperature more than 20 years ago. We are thrilled to be reissuing that iconic book now, alongside More Fiya, a celebration of the Black poets that are establishing themselves in 2022. Kayo Chingonyi’s reach is wide, his ear is true. We plan for this book and the roadshow we have in mind to promote it next summer to be an unmissable cultural event."