I have co-ordinated the SLAMbassadors slams for around 14 years. In that time, I am asked at least a couple of times a day what a participant might win if they went all the way to the finals. I tell them the obvious: you win a master class, a gig, you win long term mentoring and continual guidance on developing you career – exploring stages and publishing opportunities. You win the love of the people you work with in your team. You win someone always standing stage-side urging you on toward the microphone. You win the sound of applause settling in your stomach like butterflies. You win self respect. You win a straighter spine. You win the right to write your future.
You win art.
Oh, and a small trophy.
And then just when you think you’ve won everything you possibly can, the door to the future swings wide open.
I have just had great news about 2 very different poets from different winning teams of SLAMbassadors: Aakifah Aboobakar and Tommy Sissons.
Aakifah Aboobakar and her passionate assault on Islamophobia One Word. One Name. has made it through to the finals of the Amnesty International Youth Awards 2015. She will be travelling to London to accept her award on April 29th, and will have our hearts with her. Huge, huge congratulations from all of us.
Secondly, Tommy Sissons – who only won SLAMbassadors in late 2014 – has become a featured poet on Channel 4’s Four to the Floor, opening the whole series. The series features artists to watch out for, those that Channel 4 believe are about to break through. We couldn’t agree more.
Watch the Possibilities video here
And that’s not all.
Two more SLAMbassadors were published in the highly acclaimed Out-Spoken anthology as well – Ollie O’Neill and Charlotte Higgins – and the book was launch earlier this week in the spectacular Forge jazz venue in Camden. Make sure you buy your copy and support the creation of underground art.
And then of course there is the phenomena of Megan Beech, who was published by Burning Eye Books within weeks of winning SLAMbassadors and whose book When I Grow Up I Want To Be Mary Beard has become an international hit, selling across the UK, USA and Canada.
We are very proud of all you, and look forward to the future with you.