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TS Eliot Prize-winning poet Joelle Taylor will make a special guest appearance at the public launch event of the annual anthology of new writing from University of East London (UEL) creative writing students.

The award-winning poet, playwright, author and editor will join students at the 2022 edition of The Gallion which this year wrestles with the theme of Identity.

Written and edited by UEL students from the School of Arts and Creative Industries, the range of work will take audiences from surreal ditties to crime thrillers, from lyric essays to YA science fiction and more.

Alongside this, at the May 12 event, the contributors to the anthology have collaborated with UEL MA Acting and MA Theatre Directing students to create new productions as eclectic, diverse and creative as the students themselves.

The student performances will be followed by a special appearance from Taylor who will perform works from her latest collection, the 2021 TS Eliot Prize-winning C+nto, which explores sexuality and gender in poetry.

Rage and light

The TS Eliot Prize chair of judges Glyn Maxwell said C+nto was “a blazing book of rage and light”. The work is described as a rousing paean to and despairing elegy for the butch lesbian counterculture at a time of rising hostility, prejudice and violence towards the LGBT+ community.

In her foreword to the book, Taylor says, “I wanted both to acknowledge the crimes against the LGBT+ community and reflect back to a time when we had a greater sense of unity, of self.”

A tireless advocate for poetry’s power to change lives, Taylor is the founder and artistic director of The Poetry Society’s national youth slam championships SLAMbassadors. She has helped bring poets including Anthony Anaxagorou, Jay Bernard, Kayo Chingonyi and Vanessa Kisuule to the fore.

“Poetry and spoken word have a powerful transformational effect on young people,” she says. “[Poems] allow us to ask ourselves difficult questions and provide a platform for our awkward answers, to hold silence and to break it.”

This is one event that you won’t want to miss.


  • The Gallion 2022 Book Launch: “Identity”
  • Date: Thursday, 12 May
  • Time: 6pm to 10pm
  • Venue: Main Lecture Theatre, USS Building

The event is open to the general public and tickets are free but must be booked in advance to ensure entry. Register here. Refreshments and nibbles will be available.

Image: Roman Manfredi

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