Inua Ellams: Q & A

INUA ELLAMS is an award winning poet, playwright and performer. He has lived in Plateau State - Nigeria, Dublin - Ireland and London - England where he currently resides. He has five books published, including his new, second pamphlet of poems Candy Coated Unicorns and Converse All Stars (Flipped Eye, 2011)

Inua performs at our Feb Liming show, read more here

Q & A

What 3 words best describe you? poet, playwright, performer.

You're taking part in an upcoming 'Liming' event, what are you going to do at the show?

I am going to break dance with my tongue in a-speaking-slowly-so-the-audience-can-hear kind of way.

What do you most enjoy about performing at spoken word shows?

I most enjoy reading poems at spoken word shows.

Which artists have influenced you most and why?

John Keats; he taught me to be tragic and beautiful come what may. Mos Def; he taught me to sound fluid in staccato. Kwame Dawes; he taught me to breath. Saul Williams; he taught me breath didn't matter. All else came from the wind.

Where would you say your style of performing comes from?

I stand up and speak, and try to sound like I am just talking. It comes from conversation and transformation.

What's an important piece of 'insider' knowledge you have as a creator/performer?

The best writers are good at pretending to be other people. The best performers are good at being themselves.

What are you most passionate about?

Trying to show there isn't an 'other'. It is a horrid construct imposed by those who wish to divide and conquer. They have been successful, we must succeed them.

What creative masterpiece do you wish you had written and why?

Too many to know, but I will mention one: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. WOW.

Does current affairs or popular culture influence your writing and performing, and if so, in what ways?

Not pop culture, but current affairs and narrative... I write primarily when I am moved to, when I think I have something of worth to say, something that has not been said, something round; that is an Island.

Tell us about an upcoming project that excites you, and how we can find out more about it.

I am working on a new play called Black T-Shirt Collection. It will be at the National Theatre in April as part of its national tour. I have a website, and I tweet @inuaellams.

What's your experience been of making inroads between the spoken word/music industry?