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We Sew Our Stories: Versopolis Young Poets Takeover

Saturday 20 February 2021, 3:00 pm4:00 pm

Young Poets Takeover logo with microphone through the O

This event has passed, but can be re-watched on YouTube below.

The Poetry Society is delighted to present the latest Young Poets Takeover at the second edition of the Festival of Hope, a Versopolis Global Poetry Festival. This event will be headlined by four outstanding young writers who have won Young Poets Network challenges: Natalie Linh Bolderston, Jack Cooper, Matt Sowerby and Oluwaseun Matiluko. Each poet will be performing a set that speaks up against injustice, aligning with the 2021 Versopolis Festival’s theme of ‘speaking up’. The festival aims to address the situation in which humanity is facing a global revaluation of the ability to tell the truth, speak up and be heard.

Please note: Fathima Zahra was originally scheduled to read at this event but due to unforeseen circumstances is no longer able to perform.

There will also be an open mic for any young poet worldwide aged 14-25 to share their work. All the open mic slots have now been filled!

We are pushing young voices to the fore – so if you want to hear from the up-and-coming stars of the poetry world, come along!

Young Poets Takeover logo with microphone through the OYoung Poets Takeovers are a space for up-and-coming young poets and performers to meet one another and share their work on stage. These events are curated specially for young people and tickets are always free. We platform the brilliant young people who are involved in The Poetry Society’s programmes for young people, such as the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, Young Poets Network and SLAMbassadors, and there’s always an open mic section for anyone aged up to 25 to sign up to perform on the day. Read a review of one Young Poets Takeover here.

Email queries and any access requirements to [email protected].

Get involved in our Young Poets Network community by signing up to our mailing list, and entering our free competitions for young people!

Please be aware that the poetry in this event may touch on adult themes and use strong language.

More on the poets:

Natalie Linh BolderstonNatalie Linh Bolderston is a Vietnamese-Chinese-British poet. In 2019, she was a runner-up in the BBC Proms Poetry Competition and came third in the National Poetry Competition. In 2020, she received an Eric Gregory Award and co-won the Rebecca Swift Women Poets’ Prize. She is a member of the Roundhouse Poetry Collective and the 2020–21 London Library Emerging Writers Programme. She has been a winner in several Young Poets Network challenges and the 2018 Timothy Corsellis Prize. Her pamphlet, The Protection of Ghosts, is published with V. Press. She is now working on her first full-length collection. Find Natalie on Instagram: @NatalieLinhBolderston and Twitter: @NatBolderston

Jack Cooper wearing a yellow jacket and speaking at a podiumJack Cooper is a poet, scientist and editor. A member of Coventry Stanza, Jack has been published by Young Poets Network, Popshot, and Under the Radar. He is a member of the DYNAMO Poetry Mentoring Scheme, run by Nine Arches Press and Writing West Midlands, and the BBC Words First Development Scheme with Young Identity. He is undertaking a PhD in embryonic cell migration at the University of Warwick, and can often be found on Twitter (@JackCooper666).


Matt Sowerby speaking into a microphone wearing a checked shirt
Photo: Hayley Madden for The Poetry Society

Matt Sowerby is a 19-year-old spoken word poet and activist. In 2018 he was named as a National Youth Poetry Slam Champion and he has performed at The Poetry Society and the Houses of Parliament. Matt’s poem ‘Breadlines’ featured in a nationally touring exhibition managed by the End Hunger UK campaign, as part of a Young Poets Network challenge. He also runs poetry workshops and is a member of Dove Cottage Young Poets, a youth poetry training project managed by the Wordsworth Trust. Matt’s one man show Kidz Theez Dayz premiered at Greenbelt Festival in 2019.


Oluwaseun Matiluko wearing a bright stripy top and smiling with arms openOluwaseun Matiluko is a 24-year-old writer and researcher in law, race, human rights and colonial histories. Her love of poetry was nurtured while she was at primary school and she has since written a number of poems, including her debut pamphlet Identity. Her poem, ‘In My Wallet’, won the Spoken Word Challenge on Young Poets Network in 2020 and she was recently offered a place on Apples and Snakes’ prestigious 2021 Writing Room programme for emerging poets.