Corsair has acquired an anthology by British poetry collective Malika’s Poetry Kitchen as part of its new poetry list.
Sarah Castleton acquired world English language rights for Too Young, Too Black, Too Different directly from Maisie Lawrence, a current member of the collective and also a commissioning editor at Bookouture.
Scheduled for 2021, the book will tell the alternative story of modern British poetry through the work of poets who have emerged from the collective, described by Corsair as “poetry’s best kept secret”.
Malika’s Poetry Kitchen was founded in 2001 by Malika Booker alongside Roger Robinson to meet the need for diverse writers, who had too often been neglected by the traditional establishment, to have a space to work on their craft. The organisation has inspired Malika’s Poetry Kitchen chapters worldwide, from Chicago to Delhi.
Booker said: “When Roger Robinson and I sat down in my house in Brixton at the inaugural Malika’s Poetry Kitchen meeting we only wanted to create a radical space for marginalised writers to hone their craft by aspiring to excellence. The poetry publishers and industry had repudiated us and we felt that the creation of a supportive community was the key to our survival as writers. We were optimistic and passionate meeting religiously every Friday evening barring holidays, but could not predict the impressive impact and legacy that MPK would have on the British Literary scene. I am proud of this book as celebration and testimony of a quiet radical literary underground revolution, that began in Brixton. As I write this I feel as if we were David conquering Goliath – a small industrious gathering that changed our literary landscape.”
The book will be edited by Maisie Lawrence and Rishi Dastidar, featuring poems by current members and alumni including Warsan Shire, Inua Ellams, Dean Atta and Kayo Chingonyi, recent winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize.
It is part of the new Corsair Poetry list, run by editorial director Sarah Castleton. Authors include Mary Oliver, Morgan Parker, Ada Limón, Fatimah Asghar, Fiona Sampson, Heather Christle and Emily Skaja.