Multimedia publisher OWN IT! will co-publish a poetry collection edited by Stormzy’s co-author Jude Yawson in conjunction with BBC 1Xtra as part of a new ‘Words First’ initiative.
BBC Radio 1Xtra, BBC Asian Network and the BBC Contains Strong Language festival have launched ‘Words First’, a talent development scheme aiming to discover the best emerging poetry talent in the UK. The 12 finalists will be published in a collection edited by Yawson and OWN IT! will provide guidance and mentoring for the finalists throughout the scheme, alongside a number of leading poetry organisations.
Yawson will edit the work of the 12 finalists in a book of poetry, focused around connectivity, identity and mobilisation, that will be co-published by OWN IT! and Wrecking Ball Press. The book will be published on 27th September to coincide with the finale of the scheme which will be broadcast on BBC Radio 1Xtra from the Contains Strong Language Festival, the UK's biggest poetry and performance festival of new writing which takes place in Hull.
Yawson is editor and co-author with Stormzy of Rise Up The #Merky Story So Far (Penguin) and contributor to SAFE: On Black British Men Reclaiming Space (Trapeze), an anthology edited by “Mostly Lit” podcast host Derek Owusu.
Yawson said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to get an insight into young minds at a unique point in time. We live in an interconnected world which contains a lot of dialogue on things that impact our lives within the public sphere.
“I’m so excited about the talent we are going to unearth and about editing a book which will not only offer a platform to a new generation of creatives, but also spark important conversations about the true meaning of connectivity in the modern age.”
The 'Words First' scheme is engaging with those interested in spoken word in any form, working together with poetry organisations across the country including: Young Identity, New Writing North, Apples & Snakes, and Neu! Reekie!. For more information on applying, visit this website.
OWN IT! launched an annual membership subscription earlier this year costing £48 a year. It features a choice of four books from across the backlist or any forthcoming title plus free entry to any four events.