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About


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About


About

Born in Nigeria in 1984, Inua Ellams is an internationally touring poet, playwright, performer, graphic artist & designer. He has published two pamphlets of poetry: ‘Candy Coated Unicorns and Converse All Stars’ and ‘Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales’. His first play ‘The 14th Tale’ (a one-man show which he performed) was awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival and his third, ‘Black T-Shirt Collection’ ran at England’s National Theatre. He is currently working on ‘Barber Shop Chronicles’ – a new play, and a poetry pamphlet called #Afterhours. In graphic art & design, online and in print, he tries to mix the old with the new, juxtaposing texture and pigment with flat shades of colour and vector images. He lives and works from London, where he founded the Midnight Run, a nocturnal urban excursion. You can download his CV from here.

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Poems


Current Project: #Afterhours

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Poems


Current Project: #Afterhours

Poems

Inua’s first pamphlet of poems was published in 2005, two years after he began performing poetry on stage heavily Influenced by hip hop music and poetry by the Romantics. The same pursuit of musicality and heightened mellifluous speech mixed with Nigerian storytelling has come to typify his work. Once described as the love child of Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) and John Keats, his reoccurring themes are Identity, Displacement and Destiny.  He has performed at The Royal Opera House, Southbank Centre, mainstream radio and t.v., toured nationally and internationally performing in Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, New Zealand, America and in England, at the Glastonbury, Latitude, The London Word, Richmond Literature, Aldeburgh Poetry Festivals.

His poetry is widely published, notably in his pamphlets: Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales (flipped eye), Candy Coated Unicorns and Converse All Stars (flipped eye), in anthologies such as the Salt Book of Younger Poets, Chorus (MTV Books), City State (Penned in the Margins) TEN The New Wave (Bloodaxe), and in magazines such as Poetry Paper, Magma, Pen International, Wasafiri and Oxford Poetry. Inua was shortlisted for the Brunel Prize for African Poetry 2014, won the Live Canon International Poetry Competition 2014, and is currently working on #Afterhours. To book him for a reading/performance, please click here.

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Plays


Current Project: Spalding Suite

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Plays


Current Project: Spalding Suite

plays

Inua’s first play, The 14th Tale was awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh International Festival. Performed by Inua, it debuted at The Arcoal Theatre and transferred to England’s National Theatre where it played to sold out audiences before national and international tours. His most recent, the critically acclaimed Black T-shirt Collection was a passionate, searing, modern fable about two foster brothers building a global t-shirt brand. It drew on Inua’s own experiences of religious tensions in Nigeria to tell a story about the universal longing for a place to call home.

Inua started writing for other performers with The Riddler - a short play for Theatre 503. He is currently developing Barber Shop Chronicles  (National Theatre) The Spalding Suite (Southbank Centre) and New Dogs (Soho Theatre) where he is their Talawa writer in resident for 2015. Inua describes his plays as ‘failed poems’; they begin as concepts for poetry, where, as he writes, he discovers the subject matter to be better served by a multitude of voices and characters. His work is produced by Fuel Theatre and he is represented by Knight Hall Agency.

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Other


Commissions \ Workshops \ Judging.

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Other


Commissions \ Workshops \ Judging.

commissions

a poem for the occasion.

Do you need a poem for a wedding, a birthday, for an inaugural event, film, documentary, TV, online, radio, public art piece, album or a book? Commissions can range from £50 to £10,000, from a haiku to a sonnet, a ballad to an epic, and Inua has a wealth of experiences to draw from.

Past clients include: Mr & Mrs Augustus-Chase, Chris Ofili, Louis Vuitton, BBC Radio 4, Tate Modern, BBC's Politics Show, Southbank Centre, The Africa Report and Houses of Parliament. To get a quote, drop him a line here.

workshops

learn more. play more. 

Trained by national poetry organisation, Apples & Snakes in their Poets In Education Scheme, Inua further developed his skills as facilitator by travelling the world and running accessible classes for educational, arts and corporate organisations from Malaysia to Australia, Libya to South Africa. He has worked with all ages from Primary to University, teaching various aspects of poetry & playwriting, or using them to teach history, mathematics and philosophy. Download a sample workshop plan here and drop him a line here.

judging

a wholistic approach.

Most recently, Inua served as a judge for The Roundhouse Poetry Slam, the Faber New Poets series, Australia’s Poetry Idol 2014 and Wasafiri’s New Writing Prize 2014– judging poetry, prose and life-writing.

His approach is methodical and nuanced; he dissects work into various aspects, scores each individually, before assessing overall, thereby ensuring artworks are praised for their inner workings and the sum of their parts. To find out if he is available, drop him a line here.

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Art&Design


Current Project: Cakes & Cocktail

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Art&Design


Current Project: Cakes & Cocktail

Graphic art & design

Inua tries to mix the old with the new. In graphic art & design, he merges traditionally created images with digital graphics / texture with vector / pencil with pixel. His first love was drawing, the simplicity of graphite on paper and studied towards a carer in visual and fine arts. On request of friend, he sketched a flyer for a live poetry event and began graphic work in 2003 exclusively for poetry communities in inner-city London, designing publicity material, websites, books and visual identities for poets and organisations alike. He later expanded to working with various art forms and organisations as an illustrator, designer and art director.

Clients include: Coca Cola, Airwaves, Puma, The Mayor of London, Blacktronica, Apples & Snakes, Roundhouse, Battersea Arts Centre, The Albany, Southbank Centre, Spread The Word, Frantic Assembly, The Caine Prize, Apples & Snakes, & Avant Garde Dance. To view his online portfolio, please see the website: www.phaze05.com or email phaze05@gmail.com for a quote.

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The Midnight Run


Current Project: Midnight Run European Tour 2015

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The Midnight Run


Current Project: Midnight Run European Tour 2015

the midnight run

The Midnight Run is a dusk to dawn, cultural walking tour of a city. It gathers strangers and local artists to explore, play and create whilst the city sleeps. It began one autumn evening in London, 2005. Inua Ellams and friend lost patience waiting for a bus and decided to walk the bus route. Six hours later they had drifted across the city, from Battersea to Chelsea, Knights Bridge to Hyde Park, Victoria to Vauxhall and end in the very small hours of the morning. Surprised at how fresh and energised they felt, marvelling at peace and tranquility of the deserted city, the back streets and small courtyards, tiny basketball courts and parks. Inua recreated it the following summer, for 12 hours, from 6pm to 6 am and The Midnight Run was born.

The idea developed and to date, there have been 25 events in London (England) Madrid (Spain), Barcelona (Spain), Milan & Florence (Italy) & Auckland (New Zealand). The Midnight Run is about rediscovering a city with its inhabitants: Not all those who wander are lost. For more information on future events or if you want to get involved, please see the website: www.themnr.com or email themidnightrun@gmail.com.