Joelle Taylor is an award-winning poet, playwright and author. A former UK slam champion, Joelle founded the national youth slam championships SLAMbassadors in 2001 with The Poetry Society. She has performed her poetry nationally and internationally and is the host of Out-Spoken, London’s premier poetry and music night.
Her most recent collection Songs My Enemy Taught Me (Out-Spoken Press) was inspired by workshops engaging groups of vulnerable women across the UK. Speaking to refugees, prisoners, young mothers, survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, the collection powerfully evokes the struggles women still face globally in the 21st Century.
Joelle’s previous collection The Woman Who Was Not There (Burning Eye) was named as one of the UK’s top ten recommended collections in the Morning Star, and was described by Benjamin Zephaniah as ‘poetry with purpose’.
She has been anthologised widely in English, Portuguese, Polish, Finnish, Arabic and Ndebele; and her work is a Subject for Study on the OCR GCSE English syllabus.
As an educator Joelle has lead workshops in schools, prisons, youth centres and other setting for organisations including The Poetry Society, the British Council, Arvon Foundation and English PEN. She featured on TEDx Talks and Outsider Lectures, and was recently awarded a Southbank Centre Change Maker prize, in recognition of her life changing work on the national youth slams. She has a Fellowship of the Royal Society of the Arts, and was longlisted for the 2017 Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship.
In 2017 Joelle featured in a BBC documentary We Belong Here, about the role of poetry in post-Brexit Britain alongside Lemn Sissay, Jack Underwood and Sabrina Mahfouz. She was commissioned by the BBC to write a piece for the Hull City of Culture celebrations, broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb, and featured in Powerlines, a radio documentary for BBC Radio 4 about the role of the poet as social activist.
The National Portrait Gallery has commissioned a portrait of her as part of their 2019 exhibition of Contemporary Poets. Her collection of short stories The Night Alphabet is due for publication in 2019.