Mixing Roots Poetry Programme

For young women of colour age 17-25 in the north of England
[Application deadline midnight Friday 17th Feb 2022]

If you’re an aspiring or emerging young poet keen to take your craft further, Mixing Roots is back and running an online poetry programme (from Sundays from 27th February) offering a supportive set of workshops and individual feedback to inspire and guide you in developing as a poet.

Join Sheffield Poet Laureate Warda Yassin, who’ll build your writing confidence through fun and accessible writing exercises and editing advice, and receive peer and one-to-one feedback on work, and tips and insights into publishing routes and opportunities. There’ll also be guest workshops from the brilliant Danae Wellington and Sile Sibanda.

Who’s it for?
The programme is for young women of colour aged 17 to 25 in the North of England with an interest in developing their poetry. You don’t have to feel like you’re an amazing writer to apply, you just need a curiosity for poetry and a willingness to have a go. Both beginner and emerging poets are welcome to get in touch.

You might feel like you lack a way in, direction, sticking power, or confidence. You might have a project you want inspiration to get stuck into, or to hone your skills or work. Or you might simply want a regular reason to write and connect with others on a similar creative journey. All levels and interests welcome.

As the programme is on Zoom, it’s open to writers from across the north. We’re keen to hear from more young women of African heritage – but all women of colour/migrant communities are welcome to apply. We’re also keen to hear from people who feel like they wouldn’t normally be able to access this kind of opportunity.

Expect a warm and supportive group with a wonderful poet and guests. The programme will run on Sundays from 27th February, 3-5pm on Zoom [six sessions with Warda Yassin and two optional sessions with Danae Wellington and Sile Sibanda that might take place on another day]

The programme is subsidised through Hive meaning places are totally free. Why? Programmes like this normally cost upwards of £250 but Mixing Roots is subsidised as a way to reach new and emerging young writers and remove barriers to developing as a writer. We’re looking for young writers who are keen to commit to the programme and gain as much as possible from taking part.

To Apply
Send (in one Word or .rtf document) up to 4 poems (no pressure if you don’t have much to send), followed by up to 350 words about yourself, including: your interests, where you feel you are with your writing and any input you’ve had with it, why you’re applying for this programme, and how you think it could be of help.

Sent with the following at the bottom: Your age, date of birth, your heritage/ethnic origin as you wish to describe, place of study or work (if applicable), email, telephone number, address (term or home), and anything else you might want to tell us by midnight 17th February to wardayassin@hivesouthyorkshire.com [Note places will be limited to ensure a supportive and managable programme]

About Mixing Roots
The Mixing Roots project was set up in 2019 by poet Warda Yassin with the support of Hive. It exists to encourage and support the creative development of young and emerging writers of colour through writing. Over the last few years, several Mixing Roots programmes have been delivered through Hive and several publications launched as a result. In 2022 there will be a book-length Mixing Roots anthology celebrating a wide range of voices of colour from across the north.

Warda Yassin is a British Somali poet and English teacher. She was awarded the Women Poets’ Prize 2020/21 and became Sheffield Poet Laureate in the same year. Warda writes about her experiences as a British Somali and about her heritage and community and in 2018 was a winner of the New Poets Prize. Her debut pamphlet Tea with Cardamom came out with The Poetry Business in 2019. Warda has been a part of the South Yorkshire writers network (now Hive) for 8 years and recognises from her own experience, how it can support young people to reach their potential.

Danae Wellington is a Jamaican British writer, poet and advocate for healing through the creative arts, specifically through the fusion of poetry, storytelling, music and theatre. She’s been published in several anthologies and has performed widely at places like the Ted Hughes Poetry Festival and Sheaf Poetry Festival. She recently set up Nyara School of Arts, a project aimed at creatively supporting young people from African Diaspora backgrounds.

Sile Sibanda is a British Zimbabwean poet, spoken word performer, and BBC radio presenter. As well as being an active part of the Hive community, she has hosted open mics and events for Hive over the last few years and is loved by everyone for her warmth and encouragement of young voices. Sile hails from Rotherham and in 2019 she won the BBC Radio Sheffield ‘This is Me’ presenting competition and subsequently became the host of The Vibe on BBC Radio Sheffield.