Take Flight Hub | How to Sustain a Poetry Career with Mary Jean Chan


Discover how to sustain your career as a poet and hear sublime poetry readings from 2019 Costa Poetry Award winner Mary Jean Chan.

Poetry can be a financially challenging career but it is, without a doubt, creatively rewarding, enriching and powerful. During a time of crisis, poetry is growing in popularity, among audiences, readers and especially young people of colour who are showcasing their talents on YouTube and Instagram.

The past two years has seen exciting poets of colour such as Inua Ellams, Raymond Antrobus , Jay Bernard, Roger Robinson and Mary Jean Chan secure prestigious poetry prizes, expanding the form and challenging narrow perceptions of what poetry is – and who poets are, and can be.

But what is the reality of being a contemporary poet? When do you know when your work is good or strong enough to be showcased? How do you build an audience if you are a page poet rather than a spoken word artist? What are the challenges to earning a living at poetry? And how do you honour your authentic voice and self in the work?

Take Flight Hub is a new professional and creative development programme for emerging writers of colour and is a collaboration between University College London (UCL), Spread the Word and Words of Colour. Some of the country’s leading novelists, poets, playwrights, literary agents and publishers of colour will be sharing their expertise in a series of free talks, masterclasses, workshops, panel discussions and presentations over five weeks, made possible by a grant from the UCL Knowledge and Innovation Rapid Response fund.

Chaired by Joy Francis, Executive Director of Words of Colour
The Take Flight Hub was inspired by BookTrust Represents research conducted by Dr Melanie Ramdarshan Bold, Associate Professor in Publishing and Book Cultures at UCL, which found that emerging writers of colour needed support, advice and access as part of an industry focused network to help sustain their careers.