Patience Agbabi as her 'Telling Tales' character The Wife of Bafa

Patience Agbabi as her 'Telling Tales' character The Wife of Bafa

The Cholmondeley Award

We are delighted to announce that Patience Agbabi has received a Cholmondeley Award

Read more


We are thrilled to be collaborating on readings and tours this year with Patience Agbabi, Mark Gwynne Jones, John Agard, Jean 'Binta' Breeze, Caryl Phillips, Robert Antoni and many more.  If you'd like to be kept informed, click on the JOIN THE MAILING LIST tab and sign up to receive our listings.

Interested in authors and artists to read or perform at your venues, festivals, centres or schools?  Throughout the year we are connecting writers to events and education work, and arranging collaborations with literary and music festivals. Contact us if you have an event or project you would like to discuss, or you wish us to recommend an author.

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What can spoken word do for you and yours? How can you make the most of your voice to build a career in the arts?

As part of Rich Mix's festival for young people, curator, producer and speaker Melanie Abrahams presents a masterclass on using spoken word to make a difference. Drawing from a range of moments in history, society, and culture she explores examples of where artists, speakers, politicians and many of us - at some stage or another - have used spoken word ‘to give a good account’.  

22 August at 11am at Rich Mix (Upstairs).  Early booking recommended as places are limited

Three The Hard Way by Keith Allott

Three The Hard Way by Keith Allott

OCTOBER: Jean Binta Breeze in England

Performing on Tour, as part of THREE THE HARD WAY with Lydia Towsey and Shruti Chauhan

Three the Hard Way is a name derived from Jamaican DJ culture where male DJs worked together across dance halls, clubs and stages, bouncing off and responding to each others’ sets in collaboration and competition. In this remix the form is brought to you by three female artists of diverse backgrounds who have been united by a shared Midlands history: Shruti Chauhan, Lydia Towsey and Jean Binta Breeze MBE.

“Brilliant chemistry … sit back and let the lyrics (not just words) wash over you.”  Karen McCandless, The Public Reviews



a potent poetry collaboration between Mark Gwynne Jones and Mamta Sagar

England's Peak District meets India's Karnataka region in an England tour featuring five times fringe award-winner Mark Gwynne Jones and Bangalore-based poet and translator Mamta Sagar. Two languages become one in a melding of voices that offers electrifying performances and resounding personal and political messages.  "Watching Mamta and Mark perform their poetry together was like experiencing a music concert. Their words embraced each other and their two languages sort of became one." British Library, India


our music video - a contemporary calypso based on Lord Kitchener's ode to London

Audio: Listen to 'Kitch!' on Radio 4

Presented by Anthony Joseph

This BBC Radio 4 programme brings a flavour of the Caribbean to England. June 1948. The Empire Windrush docks at Tilbury carrying 492 West Indian "citizens of the British Empire" and one of their spokesmen, a gently smiling Aldwyn Roberts sings a Calypso he wrote on the the voyage, 'London is the place for me, London, this lovely city...'.  Presented by poet Anthony Joseph and produced by Allegra McIlroy for BBC Radio 4.



at New Art Exchange, Nottingham

renaissance one and New Art Exchange presents ART FOR CHANGE: exploring and championing social change and justice through the arts

4pm – 8.30pm at New Art Exchange, 39 - 41 Gregory Boulevard, Nottingham NG7 6BE

Come and take part in an event exploring and championing social change and justice through the arts: take a guided exhibition tour, experience spoken word and poetry performances, have your say at our discussion event, and experience resounding and call to action music and beats by our in-house DJ as well as summer and party tunes. 

The day features contributions by artists, collectives and organisations making changes through the arts, and includes Mark Gwynne Jones, Mamta Sagar, Andrew ‘Mulletproof’ Graves, Kirsty Fox of Bees Make Honey Creative Community, Kallina Brailsford of Human Camera, Panya Banjoko of Nottingham Black Archives, Michelle 'Mother' Hubbard,Blackdrop, Psykhomantus, Saraa Rain, Melanie Abrahams, Jo Kelen, Fiona Linday, Michael Brome and more, plus a presentation of poetry show Melding Voices with regional poet Mark Gwynne Jones and Bangalore-based poet Mamta Sagar who offer words of resounding personal and political messages, multiple languages and electrifying performances.   

Cost: Pay What You Can                          

15 May: Word on the Street Festival

6pm - 8.45pm: Voices of Intent at Free Word Centre

London Literature Lounge Meets Tilt: Voices of Intent   featuring Mamta Sagar, Mark Gwynne Jones, Lauren K. Alleyne, Anjan Saha, Nina Joshi and Dheeraj Sahai-Mishra and hosts Anjan Saha and Melanie Abrahams

A poetry, prose and music showcase of international artists hailing from India, Kenya, Trinidad and England whose words carry resounding personal and political messages.  The event will also be the London launch of Lauren K. Allyene’s poetry collection, Difficult Fruit (Peepal Tree, 2014).  Supported by Free Word and funded by Arts Council England.

13 May: Word on the Street Festival

2pm: Speaking Art and Life: a Spoken Word Talk

What can spoken word do for creativity, arts and social change? A talk by Melanie Abrahams which explores the ways in which artists, speakers, politicians and many of us -  at some stage or another - have used spoken word ‘to give a good account’.  The talk is followed by a general discussion.  Free but spaces are limited to 20 places and early booking is recommended.

13 May: Word on the Street Festival

5.30pm LMA Book Group: Patience Agbabi’s Telling Tales

Acclaimed poet Patience Agbabi, recently shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for Poetry, reads from her latest poetry collection Telling Tales and talks about her experiences of completing a contemporary retelling of Geoffrey Chaucer's classic text The Canterbury Tales.  5.30pm - 7pm. The event is free but as places are limited, early booking is recommended.

“Inventive, risky, serious and fun."  Jeanette Winterson

Event guidance: 16 years to adult (adult content)

LIVING FOR THE CITY: photos of Panya Banjoko, Joe Coghlan, Jo-Anne 'Spice' Blackwood and Andrew 'Mulletproof' Graves

LIVING FOR THE CITY: Photos of Panya Banjoko, Joe Coghlan, Jo-Anne 'Spice' Blackwood and Andrew 'Mulletproof' Graves

25 April: Lyric Lounge Leicester and Inside Out festival

Living For The City at Curve Theatre

renaissance one presents Living For The City, an exploration of city life and sounds in the East Midlands through a hand-picked soundtrack of poetry and spoken word presented by Andrew ‘Mulletproof’ Graves, Panya Banjoko, Joe Coghlan and Spice (Jo-Anne Blackwood), and beats and music by DJ Psykhomantus.  The event is curated by Melanie Abrahams and produced by renaissance one in partnership with Writing East Midlands and Curve Theatre as part of their Inside Out festival season  Writing East Midlands are the producers of the one-day festival Lyric Lounge Leicester which this event forms a part of.





Patience Agbabi by Lyndon Douglas

Patience Agbabi by Lyndon Douglas

Patience Agbabi Tour 2014

April to November: giving readings from her new book TELLING TALES

We are working with acclaimed poet PATIENCE AGBABI, whose new poetry collection, Telling Tales, is a brilliant retelling of Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales for the 21st century, and is published by Canongate.

Click on the Telling Tales section of the site to read about Patience's upcoming events.

Pete The Temp Vs Climate Change

England Tour: Sep to Nov 2014

Pete The Temp is a Poet, a Lover, and a damn fine administrator! In his new multimedia stand up poetry show, Pete attempts to solve climate change using only his mouth! Will he succeed? The show tours up to November and is funded by Arts Council England.


25 and 26 Oct: A Caribbean Weekend Festival of literature, music and limin'

London Is The Place For Me offered a Caribbean weekend festival of artists and raconteurs inspired by home, diaspora and personal stories, and all with a connection to the Caribbean.  The line-up included Mervyn Morris, Kei Miller, Monique Roffey, John Agard, Jean 'Binta' Breeze, Thomas Glave, Abdul Malik, Tracie Morris (US), Anthony Joseph, Malika Booker, Women of Steel, Alexander D Great, Tobago Crusoe, Mangrove Steelband, Ian Dieffenthaller, Charlie Dark, Melanie Abrahams, Sureshot, Jamie Renton and more. Family friendly and offering performances, workshops and events for kids and adults, it was based at The Tabernacle, W11, one of the heartlands of the Caribbean community and was presented by renaissance one and Carnival Village in association with Tilt and Time To Change.  Day Tickets £12.50  Weekend Ticket £20

Photo of Mark Gwynne Jones

Photo of Mark Gwynne Jones


a new show by Mark Gwynne Jones for ages 7 to 107

Award-winning poet Mark Gwynne Jones offers a new show for ages 7 to 107 that explores the magic and the possibilities of words. 

Offering wild imaginings and exhilarating performance, he invites you to meet the boy with an eye on his index finger, learn to escape school by becoming a cat, and to make friends with a giant toad!  Mark is presenting performances and workshops in the autumn and next spring. Contact renaissance one at hq[at]renaissanceone.co.uk if you are interested in a show coming to your area.


The Mouthy Poets

The Mouthy Poets

19 July: Mouthy Poets presents SAY SUM THIN 7

a one day festival with 50 young poets as your muse

MOUTHY POETS is inviting you to play, collaborate, write and create on 19 July, with 50 young poets as your muse, and with special guest poet John Agard.  Throughout the Nottingham Playhouse venue there will be workshops, scratch shows, interactive activities, a book binding session, and performances suitable for all ages.  Event in association with renaissance one.  An all-day ticket costs £14 (£10 concs).



a forum for connecting with guest speaker Lemn Sissay

Creative Salon offers a stimulating forum for all who work in, or are interested in, poetry and spoken word, whether you are a writer, artist, practitioner, producer, small business owner, agency, or have a newly created role.  At our salon on 12 December, renowned poet LEMN SISSAY offered his insights and takes part in a Q & A with the audience.

Photo of Mark Gwynne Jones

Photo of Mark Gwynne Jones

18 OCTOBER: We Talk of Pride and Prejudice

A spoken word event for Off The Shelf Festival

As a special project developed for Sheffield's Off The Shelf Festival of Words, a talented group of local writers aged 15 to 21 years and leading poets Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze MBE, Mark Gwynne Jones and Sureshot offered their personal take on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and wrote and presented new poems. The project was developed by renaissance one in partnership with Writing Yorkshire and Off The Shelf. 


a forum for creativity, connecting and sharing

At the October 2013 Creative Salon the poet, publisher and rock star Jessica Care Moore, who was visiting England from Detroit, offered her insights on writing, performing and developing a career in spoken word and performance.

FRIDAY 27 SEP: A STORY I AM IN - A Benefit Performance

Poetry, Music & Spoken Word celebrating James Berry’s Life in Literature

On 27 September, we presented a Benefit event for poet James Berry who celebrates 90 years of poetry, stories and song in 2014, through a remarkable line-up of nineteen poets, speakers and raconteurs including Roger McGough, Grace Nichols, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Ian McMillan, Alastair Niven, Andrew Motion, Michael Rosen, Myra Barrs and John Agard




Come hear Tanti Merle at de Oval & other stories from the international raconteur

PAUL KEENS-DOUGLAS, the famed Trinidadian storyteller, raconteur and public speaker who is also the creator of the famous Carnival Talk Tent in Trinidad, performed for two nights as part of renaissance one and Tilt's summer series of literature at the Tabernacle.


The Royal Albert Hall, Tongue Fu and Renaissance One presents TONGUE FU, one of London’s liveliest spoken word nights, at the Elgar Room  MOBO award-winning and Mercury Music Prize nominated saxophonist and MC SOWETO KINCH; performance poet and musician CHRIS REDMOND; one of Europe's leading storytellers, JAN BLAKE; and the TONGUE FU band.


RENAISSANCE ONE fosters the best talent in literature and spoken word.

We champion literature and words that live and take shape in a range of settings.  We do this through booking writers for venues and organisations, fostering literature projects and festivals, and producing events of all kinds.

Our roster of writers, artists and practitioners is drawn from the most articulate and passionate in writing, performance, and ideas, today.  We connect writers to venues and develop talents to build a long-lasting career in the arts.  Additionally, we curate projects that fill gaps and bring attention to areas of importance in arts and culture through festivals and events.

Click here to see who we have worked with over the years.


Looking ahead to events and tours this year

This year we are working with Patience Agbabi, John Agard, Jean 'Binta' BreezeMark Gwynne Jones, Michael BromeAdisaMaggie Harris and Hannah Lowe on commissions and events.

We're organising tours and events for outstanding writers based in the US and the Caribbean including Caryl Phillips, Robert AntoniLadan Osman, Lauren K. Alleyne.  Following this, our 2016 projects will involve many poets, novelists and racontueurs including Colin Channer, Paul Keens Douglas, and Earl Lovelace.  

Get in touch to discuss an event or find out more.


'Playing with words like some people play with musical notes'

Kirsty Young's castaway is poet John Agard, who describes how when he arrived in England from Guyana in the mid-1970s he was already playing with words like some people play with musical notes. He believes that "the poet keeps us in touch with the vulnerable core of language that makes us what we are." Broadcast: 16 November 2014.

JOHN AGARD: poet, playwright and children's author

His new poetry collection 'Travel Light, Travel Dark' is out now

John Agard is an award-winning Guyanese poet, playwright, and writer of children's books.  From 2012 - 2013 he was a recipient of the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.  He has won numerous awards and his poems have been featured in the English GCSE anthology since 2002 meaning that many students study his work for their GCSE qualification. A former Writer in Residence at the South Bank Centre and a BBC Poet in Residence, Agard tours around the world to give readings and talks.  As an author of many collections of poetry including We Brits, Alternative Anthem and Clever Backbone. His latest poetry collection is Travel Light Travel Dark (Bloodaxe, 2014).

Watch a video performance of 'Telling Tales' by Patience Agbabi

Poems by Patience Agbabi; performed by Patience Agbabi, Kyrill Potapov, Francesca Beard, Steve Tasane and Michael Brome