News from Inua Ellams. 07/07/08AHh, just when it seemed summer was underway, last Wednesday began with clear skies, temperature highs, moved to rain, then ACTUAL HAILSTONES... curiously, it mirrors work patterns, clear direction, things heat up, suddenly a downfall and madness. But enough of that shizz... down to bizz...

The formula, four news items and something good from YouTube: TALKING IN TONGUES / LONDON LIMING / FRESH OFF THE WALL / LYNK REACH (prt3) / STOP ME /

TALKING IN TONGUES // Show - 13th July. The London Literature Festival got underway last Friday at the Southbank and I am taking part in a couple of events. I have been talking non-stop about the scratch performance of my show, The 14th TALE, at the BAC on the 31 July / 1 & 2 of August. BUT the first time I perform it will see a 10 min segment on the 13th of July at 'TALKING IN TONGUES', an event this Sunday hosted by Sifundo Msebele, curator of Africa Beyond. At the Southbank, I shall stage-share with Ebele, Charlie Dark, and Bries who have also cooked up new pieces for the date. Come see. //

Date: 13th July, 6pm // Purcell Rooms, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre // Tickets £9 //

LONDON LIMING // After my performance, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Artist-In-Residence Lemn Sissay and Tilt present brilliance, 'London Liming', a show I will attend, featuring Ursula Rucker, Brian Patten, Shlomo, Patience Agbabi, Stacy Makishi and Louis Antwi, Curated by Melanie Abrahams. //

Date: 13th of July, 7.45pm // Queen Elizabeth Hall. Southbank Centre // Tickets £12 // Concessions 50% In The Front Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall, 5pm, you can catch Broadcaster Kevin Le Gendre talking to Ursula Rucker about her career and influences. This one is before my show and FREE.

FRESH OFF THE WALL // Something completely different... I am graphic designer / visual artist as well as a writer. Constantly, I strive to merge the disciplines. The first realisation of this is the Limited Edition reprint, just 313 copies of my collection featuring graphic interpretations of the poems. (More info to come) But the 2econd is the Visual Art Installation at the Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer. This is the first Visual Art Event I have curated! I invited 10 artists and colleagues to exhibit with me. Over the next two weeks, evolving from a blank canvas, the space will become a visual documentary of the Festival, an exciting mix of textiles, graffiti, photographs, video and performance as artists create the work in real time. The space is the Queen Elizabeth Hall's Foyer, free to enter and open till 10.30 / 11 most nights. Please stop by and check it out if you are in the centre over the next two weeks. Cheers.

LYNK REACH (prt3) // WE WON! I've been reporting on the SLAM 08 team of poet kids I have been coaching with Nick Makoha. Talked about seeing the students develop as their attitudes to friends, family and teachers changed, I've talked about the small victories, difficulties and emotionally charged writing sessions. I did not mention the students storming out, mothers threatening to pull kids out for arriving home too late or the star student suspended from school. The sessions were to culminate in a SLAM, where the kids from different schools go head to head an have their poems scored and judged. We were still changing the poem till the last minute! Moving lines in the changing rooms, the suspended student stepped back in and learnt both 3 minute poems in one week! Incredible! We were still working out how to end the poem as we were called on stage...

And we won. Simply. It all paid of, tears, sweat, determination, drama, all that good stuff. The Kids get to travel to Chicago in August to meet other poetry teams. Nick will be going with them. As a shadow, I do not get to travel, but they have promised to rock that city and remember poetry for as long as they live and honestly, this, the flashbacks of this process and what I have learnt, is reward enough.

Besides, I am working on a similar something starting in that month, for the Royal Opera House. :-) Stay tuned.

STOP ME // Earlier this year, I held a live recording of 6 poems from my first book. Unbelievably, the footage has gone missing, meaning I will have to do the show all over again. I worked hard to put the show together, so am seething with fury and thinking daggers into the heart of the camera man (sorry dude, but it hurts). So much so that I should have nothing but hatred and unrestrained jealousy for Joshua Idehen, fellow PIP, who, without breaking a sweat tripped and fell into a production company who made this film for him. But I cannot, because it is so well executed. This month's YOUTUBE offering is a poem called STOP ME. Sit back relax and enjoy.