Momtaza Mehri and Gabriel Awuah Mainoo Among Poets Set to Headline Lyra-Bristol Poetry Festival

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The Lyra is Bristol’s annual poetry festival that brings together and celebrates local, national, and international poets and speakers, representing Bristol as a centre of world-class poetry.

This year’s festival theme, Poetic Futures, explores, through the lens of poetry and words, not only technology and the future but also the imaginative power of language in shaping and reimagining new worlds. Headliners will include Alice Oswald, Raymond Antrobus, Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa, Nikita Gill, Simon Armitage, Salena Godden, and many more of the most exciting names in contemporary poetry.

Representing Africa in this year’s headline is a Somali-British poet, one of the winners of the prestigious Forward Prize for Poetry, Momtaza Mehri, and four Ghanaian poets including JAY Lit poetry editor, Gabriel Awuah Mainoo. The other Ghanaian poets are Alhassan Mohammed, Nice Cailie Ineza, and Ewurama Nhyira Essel. Their participation is made possible by a partnership between Ashesi University in Ghana and Bath Spa University in the UK.

Vanessa Kisuule will be a part of the panel discussion on Beyond Poetry. Amongst the fresh faces of the newly commissioned Bristol Poets will be Asmaa Jama.

Finally, Lyra’s chosen festival poet for 2024 is Jamaican-born artist, Shakara, whose work embodies a fusion of technology and creativity, blending poetry, spoken word, filmmaking and AI to pave the way for technologies rooted in human-based ethics.

The festival will take place from the 12th to the 21st of April 2024 at ten venues.

Visit their website at to access the tickets and to find out more about the festival.

Bongiwe T. Maphosa

Bongiwe T. Maphosa

Bongiwe Maphosa is a budding author with a passion for storytelling. With her thought-provoking narratives, she takes her readers on a literary adventure. Bongiwe's works on the human condition from a fresh perspective have earned her recognition and publications in the Avbob Poetry Anthology of 2019, The Writer's Club of South Africa 2021, and JAY Lit in 2021. She hopes to cement her place in the literary community.