top of page

Kayo Chingonyi to lead Ilkley Literature Festival poetry programme

(c) Smart Banda

Ilkley Literature Festival is delighted to announce Dylan Thomas Prize winner Kayo Chingonyi as the 2022 Poet in Residence and offers opportunities for emerging poets.

Chingonyi was born in Zambia in 1987 and moved to the UK at age six. He is the author of two pamphlets, and a fellow of the Complete Works programme for diversity and quality in British Poetry. In 2012, he was awarded a Geoffrey Dearmer Prize, and was Associate Poet at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in 2015. His first full-length collection, Kumukanda, won the Dylan Thomas Prize and a Somerset Maugham Award.

A Burgess Fellow at the Centre for New Writing, University of Manchester, Chingonyi has since joined Durham University as Assistant Professor of Creative Writing. He is a writer and presenter for the music and culture podcast Decode on Spotify, poetry editor at Bloomsbury, and his most recent collection A Blood Condition was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection, the T.S. Eliot Prize, and the Costa Poetry Award.

Ilkley Literature Festival Director Erica Morris said “Kayo is on such an incredible trajectory with his appointment as Poetry Editor for Bloomsbury and the success of his latest collection. It is such an honour to have the opportunity of working with him as Poet in Residence this year.”

Previous Poets in Residence have included Imtiaz Dharker, Andrew McMillan, Zaffar Kunial and Colette Bryce. Following in their footsteps, Chingonyi will be making his mark on this year’s festival, producing a commissioned piece, taking part in a reading, curating a poetry showcase and delivering a writing workshop.

Chingonyi will be providing mentorship to the 2022 Apprentice Poet in Residence. Applications are open now for a talented poet at the start of their career and based in the North of England.

As well as working closely with Chingonyi, the Apprentice Poet in Residence will create their own commission, judge the 18-25 category of the annual Water Swan Poetry Prize and run a poetry/creative writing workshop for aspiring writers.

Chingonyi will also be judging the popular Walter Swan Poetry Prize, which is returning for its seventh year. The competition is now open for poets aged 18 and over and submissions should respond to the prompt ‘The Audience’.

All winning poets will receive a monetary prize and will be invited to read their work in a special online event during the festival. The top prize winner will also receive a one-to-one feedback session with Chingonyi.

For further information and to apply to these opportunities for emerging poets, visit


bottom of page