ANONYMS Inua Ellams with Liz Houchin, John Cummins, Kimberly Campanello, Dafe Orugbo, Anja Murray, Ashwin Chacko, Thembe Mvula and Leon Diop

In Partnership with Poetry Ireland

  • Saturday 11th November @ 1:00 pm
  • Townhall, 1WML, Windmill Quarter
  • 10

In parts of West Africa it is believed children grow to embody their names; that a child named Peace will grow up to radiate serenity. Other West Africans think this is rubbish, but how do we come to be named? What then do we inherit? Do names change us? Who cares? And why should we? Join us to watch this live, on-stage creative workshop and performance unfold, taking place before an audience, where poet, playwright and screenwiter Inua Ellams guides 8 intelligent, funny and insightful guests including writers Liz Houchin, John Cummins, Kimberly Campanello, Dafe Orugbo, Anja Murray, Ashwin Chacko, Thembe Mvula and Leon Diop through Anonyms, a rich, invasive and poignant exploration into what we are called, and why. Audience members will be invited to participate, to come with the story and meaning behind their names.

Supported by the British Council in collaboration with The Times and the Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival.


This is a 16+ event.





Photo by Myah Jeffers


Photo by: Adama Jalloh

Born in Nigeria, Inua Ellams is writer and curator. He is a cross disciplinary artist, an internationally touring performer, a poet, playwright, screenwriter, graphic artist & designer. His published books of poetry include Candy Coated Unicorns and Converse All Stars, Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales, The Wire-Headed Heathen, #Afterhours, and The Actual. His first play The 14th Tale was awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival. His plays include Barber Shop Chronicles, Three Sister and The Half-God of Rainfall. He is currently touring Search Party, An Evening With An Immigrant and working on several commissions across stage and screen. He lives and works from London, where he founded and curates the Midnight Run, The R.A.P Party, Poetry +Film / Hack, and other live events. He is an ambassador for The Ministry of Stories and The London Library, a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Royal Society of Arts, and board members of The Poetry Translation Centre, Complicite Theatre, The Royal Society of Literature and Cheltenham Literature Festival. In 2023, He was honoured with an MBE for Services To The Arts, and an Honorary Doctorate from University Of The Arts, London.

Kimberly Campanello‘s most recent projects are MOTHERBABYHOME, a 796-page visual poetry-object and reader’s edition book (zimZalla, 2019), and sorry that you were not moved (2022), an interactive digital poetry publication produced in collaboration with Christodoulos Makris and Fallow Media. She is an inaugural Markievicz Award winner from Ireland’s Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Arts Council, and she represented the UK in Munich at Klang Farben Text: Visual Poetry for the 21st Century, a festival organised by the British Council, the National Poetry Library, and Lyrik Kabinett. New poems have appeared in Granta, Poetry Review, Cambridge Literary Review, The White Review, and Poetry Ireland Review. New prose features in Tolka and in Somesuch Stories. She is Professor of Poetry at the University of Leeds.

Ashwin Chacko describes himself as a ‘positively playful connector’, bringing people together through storytelling with illustration & design, and championing creativity to shape culture through talks, books, videos and workshops. His aim is to bring joy and encouragement through the art and stories he tells.



John Cummins Poetician, one of Ireland’s most unique voices, has brought his spoken word poetry to every corner of our isle. From festival fields to our national concert hall, John shares poetry that aims to highlight, uplift, and inspire.



Leon Diop is a 28 year old mixed race man from Tallaght. Born to an Irish mother and a Senegalese father. He grew up in a mixed ethnic and religious household. He studied Psychology in Maynooth University where he served two years as Students’ Union President. He is the founder of Black and Irish. An organisation striving to transform Ireland into a global leader in equality and inclusion. He is a host of the Black and Irish podcast with RTE. He currently serves on the boards of the Childhood Development Initiative, Tallaght and South Dublin County Partnership.

Liz Houchin is an Irish poet living in Dublin. ‘Anatomy of a Honey girl (poems for tired women)’ was published by Southword in 2021. In 2023 she was the Poetry Ireland poet-in-residence at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh. She holds a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from UCD and her work is supported by the Arts Council of Ireland.


Anja Murray is an ecologist, environmental policy analyst and broadcaster, familiar to many as a television and radio documentary maker and presenter about Irelands natural environment (Eco Eye, Nature File, Root & Branch)   Anja writes a weekly column ‘natural solutions’ for The Examiner newspaper and her bestselling book ‘Wild Embrace’, published in March 2023, has been sparking enthusiasm from critics and readers alike.


Thembe Mvula is a South African/British writer and poet. She is an alum of the Obsidian Foundation, Barbican Young Poets and the Roundhouse Poetry Collective. Thembe has headlined nationally and internationally, including at Tate Lates, Oslo Afro Arts festival and has featured at Latitude festival. Her poetry has been anthologised in Part of a Story That Started Before Me (Penguin Random House, 2023), Before Them, We (Flipped Eye Publishing, 2022), The Black Anthology (10:10 Press, 2021) and appears in Magma magazine issues 77 and 83 and Rowayat. She recently completed a masters in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford, specialising in screenwriting.

Dafe Orugbo is a multidisciplinary artist with a dynamic artistic practice coupled with years of industry experience. He is particularly interested in art that centers the audience experience, as seen in his work with the Dublin Fringe or the Word Up Collective. One of Ireland’s most creative and forward-thinking musicians, Dafe Orugbo has achieved international acclaim as one half of hip-hop duo Tebi Rex, releasing two albums and touring Ireland, UK, and Europe. He writes on topics ranging from modern-day Ireland to Greek mythology and is an experienced public speaker, live performer, writer, spoken word artist, and podcaster. With an MA in Critical & Creative Media, he has become a leading cultural commentator and a respected mentor to young people. Selected as one of the lead artists for the 2022 Dublin Fringe, he created Filmore! – a project inspired by internet and meme culture that combined an interactive art installation with live performance. Dafe Orugbo has also developed and teaches hip-hop, spoken word, and song-writing classes for the Word Up Collective. Projects include Criunniú na nÓg, Youth Reach Tallaght, Grainstore Cabinteely, Music Generation, Rua Red Tallaght and Foróige.