It was January 2000 when I first visited the beautiful Gambia on a writers’ retreat organised by Kadija George. It brought me into contact with likeminded black writers and here we are on the front page of a Gambian newspaper, I’m third from the left. I came across the advert for the writers retreat at the ACFF Centre in Hyson Green, sadly ACFF no longer exists.
It was here that I began to really think about being published. I had been freelancing as a writer since the mid 1990s and wanted to make that break away from working a 9-5 job. I knew being published would help me up the writing ladder, and it did.
Unfortunately I wasn’t getting the writing support I needed in Nottingham and so I had to look further a field. I’d like to say things have changed in my city and that writing opportunities for black writers are jus as equal as our non-black counterparts but sadly that is not the case. Shortly after my retreat in Gambia I had a poem published in an anthology by Penguin Press.
Panya Banjoko is a UK-based writer and poet. She has toured internationally, coordinates a writers’ and artists’ network and is patron for Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature.
Her work has featured in numerous anthologies including the award-winning Dawn of the Unread series published by LeftLion magazine in 2016. In 2017 her poem ‘One of a Kind’ was commended in the Writing East Midlands Aurora poetry competition and her poem ‘They and Them’ was featured in an exhibition by artist, academic and critic Keith Piper at the Beaconsfield Gallery, London.
She received the Women in the Arts Poetry Award for Outstanding Achievement in 2008 and the Black Achievers Culture, Music and Arts Award for her work as a poet in 2017.
Publications:Banjoko, Panya, ‘Things You Wouldn’t Say to Your Daughter’, Clever Girls ed. Jackie Goode (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), pp. 165-180. Critical-creative essay.
Banjoko, Panya, Some Things, (Bristol: Burning Eye Books, 2018). Poetry collection.
Banjoko, Panya, ‘Insomniac’s Count’, Nottingham, ed. Miggy Angel (Nottingham: Dostoyevsky Wannabe Cities, 2019), pp. 51-54.
Banjoko, Panya ed., When We Speak, An Anthology of Black Writing in Nottingham, (Nottingham: Nottingham Black Archive, 2018).
Banjoko, Panya, ‘Santa Circa. 2092’, Christmas Crackers: Ten Poems to Surprise and Delight, (Nottingham: Candlestick Press, 2017), p. 8. Re-published as the weekly poem for Oxford Brookes University, December 4, 2017.
Banjoko, Panya, ‘Powe Meets Africanus’, Dawn of the Unread ed. James Walker (Nottingham: Spokesman Books, 2017).
Banjoko, Panya, ‘Brain Drain’, IC3, An Anthology of New Black Writing in Britain, eds. Courttia Newland and Kadija Sesay (London: Penguin Press, 2000), p. 163.
Banjoko, Panya, ‘The Offering’, Random Acts of Kindness, An Anthology of Poetry and Flash Fiction for Nottingham Peacebuilders eds. Cathy Lesurf, Anthony Cropper, Sheelagh Gallagher (Nottingham: Spokesman Books, 2017), p. 36.
Banjoko, Panya, ‘Mike’s Story’, ‘Love Matters’, and ‘360’, The ‘Art of Nottingham (Nottingham: Nottingham Jubilee Press, 2013), pp. 129-131.
Banjoko, Panya, ‘Beside the Pool’, ‘Arriving’, and ‘Dirty Gold’, Through the Aether (Nottingham: Nottingham Jubilee Press, 2012), pp.176 – 177, 180.
Banjoko, Panya, ‘Arriving’, Out of Bounds: British Black and Asian Poets, eds. Jackie Kay, James Proctor, Gemma Robinson (Northumberland: Bloodaxe Books, 2012), p. 177.
When Carnival Came’ TunTum Housing, 2020.
‘A Pause’ Nottingham City Arts, 2020.
‘Dream Here’ Pathways Mural Project, New Art Exchange and the Centre for Research in Race and Rights (C3R) University of Nottingham, 2016.
Banjoko, Panya, Hari at the Castle (Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Museum Service, 2010)
Banjoko, Panya, Bibi’s Museum Adventure (Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Museum Service, 2008)
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