Thu, 20 Jun 2024 19:00 - 21:30

The R.A.P. Party @The London Library: Refugee Week (In person)

For Refugee Week, poet and playwright Inua Ellams brings his exhilarating live literature phenomenon, the R.A.P Party, back to The London Library for a nostalgic, no-clutter, no-fuss, evening of music and words. This time, in collaboration with Counterpoints Arts, we’re bringing you a line-up of poets from across a spectrum of refugee and migrant backgrounds to explore the theme of Refugee Week 2024: 'Our Home'. And we'll be playing tunes of their choice to to get you on your feet. Our line-up includes: Ammar Haj Ahmad, Elmi Ali, Natalie Linh Bolderston, Inua Ellams, Yanita Georgieva, Sema Gornall, Sophie Herxheimer, Adam Kammerling, Amaal Said, George Szirtes and Tone on the decks.

Ten writers + a DJ = the best night out you’ll ever have in a library – or anywhere, for that matter.

'A truly fluid literary event not just mingling poetry and music together seamlessly, but also bringing different tribes of poets: ages, races, gender, styles together. You will be moved in your heart and in your head.’— Roger Robinson

Ammar Haj Ahmad is an award-winning Syrian-British actor, dramaturg, playwright, poet, facilitator and director who is currently the Associate Artistic Director at Good Chance. He trained at the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damascus and his directing work includes the closing ceremony for Paris Peace Forum 2023, The Jungle stage reading in DasDas, Istanbul and LonDon Quixote and Longing, both at The Space Theatre, London. 

Elmi Ali is a writer and performer. He writes poetry, short fiction and drama. His performances have been received in venues across the country including Westminster, The Southbank Centre and Contact Manchester. His work has appeared in publications such as the Poetry Review and Scarf Magazine.

Natalie Linh Bolderston is a Vietnamese-Chinese-British poet. In 2020, she received an Eric Gregory Award and co-won the Rebecca Swift Women Poets’ Prize. Her poem ‘Middle Name with Diacritics’ was shortlisted for the 2021 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. Her pamphlet, The Protection of Ghosts, was published by V. Press in 2019. She is now working on her first full-length collection.

Inua Ellams is a Nigerian-born, UK-based poet, playwright and performer who has written for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and the BBC. His latest play was an adaptation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters set in Nigeria, staged at the National Theatre. The Actual, his fifth poetry release and first full collection, was published in 2020 by Penned in the Margins. 

Yanita Georgieva is a poet and journalist. She was born in Bulgaria, raised in Lebanon, and currently lives in England. She is a recipient of the Out-Spoken Prize for Page Poetry and a member of the Southbank New Poets Collective and the London Library Emerging Writers. Her debut pamphlet, Small Undetectable Thefts, is out now with Broken Sleep. 

Sema Gornall is a Turkish and British social entrepreneur, creative and gender equity and human rights activist. The Founder of Powersuit and CEO of The Vavengers, Sema also advises various governmental bodies on anti-VAWG campaigns and strategies. Sema also writes short stories, scripts and poems about race and gender relations and migration. 

Sophie Herxheimer is an artist and poet. Her work has been shown at Tate Modern, the Thames festival, the sea-front at Margate and Mrs Beeton’s grave. Her collection Velkom to Inklandt was Poetry Book of the Month in the Observer, and a Sunday Times Book of the Year. Her book60 Lovers to Make and Do, was a TLS Book of the Year and her latest collection is INDEX, a box of 78 collage poems, published as a deck of prophetic cards.  

Adam Kammerling is an award winning poet, interdisciplinary artist and educator. His most recent works include Seder, his debut poetry collection, which was a finalist in the National Jewish Book Awards, Shall We Take This Outside, a three-person spoken-word/dance theatre piece that toured nationally, and Inside!, a piece of poetry/rave theatre commissioned by Centrepoint and the Saatchi Gallery.

Amaal Said is a Danish-born Somali photographer and poet. Her photographs have been featured in Vogue, The Guardian and The New Yorker. She won Wasafiri Magazine’s New Writing Prize for poetry in 2015. In 2018, her photography was featured in the fourth volume of African Lens and was exhibited in Accra, Ghana. She is a member of Octavia, poetry collective for womxn of colour and a former Barbican Young Poet.

George Szirtes was born in Hungary, came to England as a refugee and trained as an artist. His twelfth book of poems, Reel (2004) won the TS Eliot Prize for which he has been twice shortlisted since. His latest is Fresh Out of the Sky (2021). His memoir The Photographer at Sixteen was awarded the James Tait Black Prize in 2020. He is a co-winner of the International Booker translator’s prize, as well as of numerous others.

Counterpoints Arts is the national arts organisation working in arts, migration and cultural change. Counterpoints co-ordinates the national Refugee Week, which is the world’s largest arts and culture festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. Established in 1998 in the UK, this annual festival aligns with World Refugee Day, celebrated globally on June 20th. Powered by communities across the UK, the 2024 festival runs from 17-23 June.

Supported using funding from Fondation Jan Michalski

Books by the artists will be available to purchase at the event and online through our partner bookshop Hatchards.

NB This event will take place in person at The London Library. Please see our Event Access Guidelines before you arrive. Doors (and the bar) open at 6.30pm for a 7.00pm start. 

London Library events are subject to Terms and Conditions.

Book Tickets