Leilah King is Hannah Stone’s guest for Nowt but Verse on Friday 17th September.
Leilah is a gay footballer, mental health advocate and stand-up poet based in Bristol .Her debut poetry collection Midnight Picnics in Tehran was published by Burning Eye Books in August 2019. Leilah is currently working on her second collection which she is planning to release in 2023. She works at Bristol Mind as a Fundraising Coordinator and lives in North Bristol with her partner.
Leilah has played football since she was 6 years old. During her teens and twenties, she played at a semi-professional level, and still plays and coaches. She grew up in a rural town in Wales and started writing poetry in her teens. She enjoyed writing as an escape from her feelings of loneliness. She was not open about her sexuality and her family were one of the few dual heritage families in the area which compounded her sense of estrangement.
Through her writing she could be authentic, sharing romantic poems about women. In 2012 she started taking part in the Open Mic scene. Leilah’s poetry evolved as she was inspired by her Iranian heritage and her time spent in Shiraz and Tehran, the former her mother’s home city.
Leilah’s poems in Midnight Picnics in Tehran, are nostalgic, vivid and visual celebrations of Iranian culture. Leilah devised many of her pieces sat in the gardens of Hafez’s tomb.
Since 2012, Leilah has performed across the UK. Headliner performances include Bristol Harbour Festival 2018, Poetry Café in London, Leeds poetry festival in 2021, Cheltenham Literature Festival and Find the Right Words in Leicester. Recently she featured in the Channel 4 film “Lesbian” released in February 2021. Leilah was commissioned in 2021 to write for the Nationwide Voices campaign writing poems about football.
“You never know what’s coming next, but you really, really want to take the leap and find out. A brilliant performer and sparky poet to fall in love with.” Malaika Kegode, Director of Milk Poetry.
To book your place, register on the Eventbrite link here and you will be emailed a Zoom link to the event on Thursday 16th September at 5.30pm and again at 11.30am on Friday 17th. Booking closes at 11.00am. Please check your spam as well for the email if it doesn’t appear. This event will start at 1pm with around 40 minutes of conversation between the poets followed by 10 mins of questions from the audience with no open mic. We look forward to entertaining you with our conversation.
This is a free event with an option to donate with all proceeds going to the Leeds Library.