In celebration of the launch of her much-anticipated debut poetry collection, Bad Diaspora Poems, former Young People's Laureate for London, and the co-winner of the 2018 Brunel International African Poetry Prize, Momtaza Mehri, will be in conversation with Nick Makoha.

Mixing Mehri's own family's experience with the history and stories of many others, Bad Diaspora Poems confronts the ambivalent nature of speaking for those who have been left behind. We meet the poet, the immigrant, the exile, the refugee, the runaway, the working-class artist, the translator, and the diaspora kid attempting to transcend their clichéd angst. Inhabiting the form of lyric, prose, erasures, and text messages and taking place in living rooms and marketplaces, on buses and balconies, on transatlantic journeys and online, these are essential poems about our diasporic age.

Momtaza's work has been featured in the Guardian, Vogue, Buzzfeed, DAZED, Granta, and on BBC Radio 4. Her journalism was shortlisted for the Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism in 2022.


‘A poet like Momtaza Mehri comes only once in a generation. Mehri is a writer of refined insight, audacious imagination, and artful technicality - a genius. Bad Diaspora Poems is a feat, its scope of movement both in time and geography is immense, you are swallowed into its voyage. This is an essential collection in the Black diasporic discourse. Caleb Femi, author of Poor

‘Masterful... The poems gathered here take nothing for granted. They revel in the slippages of belonging and identity and strive for something greater, something closer to a revolutionary kind of love. Victoria Adukwei Bulley, author of Quiet

Momtaza Mehri is in the advance party of a daring new turn in global anglophone poetry. Though to say 'new' doesn't do full justice to her innovation; the word implies adherence to tastes or fashion but what we have in Bad Diaspora Poems is something rarer altogether: the poems collected here, being poems with a timeless sense of style, are destined to last even as they speak so incisively to our present moment. Kayo Chingonyi, author of Kumukanda


Nicholas Makoha is a dynamic writer born in Uganda and has lived in Kenya, Saudi Arabia, and currently resides in London.

He is one of ten contemporary poets in the UK to have been selected for Spread the Word’s Complete Works development programme. During the programme he has been mentored by eminent poet George Szirtes, both writers in exile.

As a resident artist of Spoke-Lab he developed a 1-man- show “My Father & Other Superheroes”. One man’s honest revelation of how pop culture raised him in the absence of his father. It was showcased at Stratford Theatre East and toured to Oslo with the British Council.

Booking for this event has now closed.