Young People’s Laureate for London Theresa Lola is launching #MyMentalHealthJourney, supported by YoungMinds UK, Spread The Word, and BUREAU. #MYMentalHealthJourney is a campaign to encourage young people to use poetry to share their experiences with mental health. Share your poems on social media about mental health using #MyMentalHealthJourney and we'll pick it up! If you'll rather submit anonymously that's fine! You can submit here
Curated Film Lines and Poetry, a night of poems in response to captivating dialogues from films. The poets responded to lines and scenes from Adulthood (2008). The British film, written and directed by Noel Clark, follows a young man trying to change his life after he is released from prison. It begs us to ask what rehabilitation means for young people trying to escape violence, the night explored that. The poetry readings were by Malakai Sargeant, Belinda Zhawi, Eleanor Penny, Gboyega Odubanjo, and Yomi Sode. They were followed by a screening of short films that young filmmakers in London creating equally relevant work, 'VELVET' by Iggy LDN and 'Appreciation' by Tomisin Adepeju.
International Laureate Poetry Masterclass
After connecting with the Youth Laureates of Chicago, via Spread The Word organisation, I ran a masterclass for writers on all levels alongside Patricia Frazier - the National Youth Poet Laureate of the United States, Kara Jackson - the Young Poet Laureate of Chicago and Natalie Richardson- the former Scholastic Arts Midwest Youth Poet Laureate on 14th June 2019 at the Freeword Centre in London. The workshop had a focus on wellbeing, activism and the power of poetry to bring about change, and was part conversation, part-workshop and part-sharing.
Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 for BBC Radio London
Mental Health Awareness Week was week commencing May 13th 2019. As part of it I ran poetry workshops of Creativity and Mental Health for young people at the BBC Radio London office alongside other poets such as Salma El-Wardany and LionHeart. The young people had the option of recording their poems, the poems were played across shows on BBC Radio London during the week.
Theresa Lola is Young People's Laureate for London.
"Theresa Lola is the new Young People’s Laureate for London, announced at City Hall on Wednesday 17 April.
In her tenure as laureate, Theresa will champion young people’s mental health and wellbeing through poetry at a time of great political uncertainty."
Theresa says: “I am delighted to be Spread the Word’s Young People’s Laureate for London.
I hope to use this role to encourage young people to creatively engage in conversations about our wellbeing and mental health, to celebrate what self-care means to us and the things that give us hope as young Londoners.
Theresa Lola's debut full length poetry collection
'In Search of Equilibrium' (Nine Arches Press, February 2019)
Theresa Lola’s debut poetry collection In Search of Equilibrium is an extraordinary, and exacting study of death and grieving. Where the algorithms of the body and the memory fail, Lola finds the words that will piece together the binary code of family and restart the recovery program. In doing so, these unflinching poems work towards the hard-wired truths of life itself - finding hope in survival, lines of rescue in faith, a stubborn equilibrium in the equations of loss and renewal. - Jane Commane, Editor, Nine Arches Press
Theresa Lola is joint winner of the 2018 Brunel International African Poetry
Theresa Lola reads her poem 'For They Who Listen When Courage Calls'
at the Unveiling of Millicent Fawcett's statue at Parliament Square
Tuesday April 24th
BBC Africa Interview
February 2018 - Listen here Theresa Lola's BBC Radio 3's The Verb Interview
Listen Here BBC Radio 4 Women's Hour interview
Running workshops as part of the 2017 Lagos International Poetry Festival in Nigeria from November 1st to 5th. The four workshops ranged from discussing the history of Nigerian women poets to looking at the works of women in general such as Carolyn Forche and Safia Elhillo, we also analyzed how blackness is reflected in poems to looking at ways joy can be framed in a poem.
Courtesy of the British Council and Arts Council International Development grant, I will be running four poetry workshops alongside Ruth Sutoye at the 2017 Lagos International Poetry Festival in Nigeria November 1st to 5th.
26th of July is the screening for Mother Tongues at Autograph ABP, a project by Victoria Adukwei Bulley. A translation and film series featuring Theresa Lola, Tania Nwachukwu, Belinda Zhawi, and Victoria Adukwei Bulley, our poems translated by our mothers into Yoruba, Igbo, Shona and Ga, respectively. Tickets available here
After a 4 week long workshop with the young women at Phoenix Place School, Rachel Long and I spoke on our experience at the Africa Writes Festival 1st July 2017 at The British Library. We also read the poems written by them.
600 people showed up to a sold out RAP Party as part of the 2017 Africa Writes Festival at The British Library. RAP Party is an event curated by Inua Ellams, Theresa Lola and DJ Sid Mercurtio which is a celebration of the bridges between Poetry and Hip Hop. Poets that graced the stage for this edition were Kayo Chingonyi, Roger Robinson, Kei Miller, Amaal Said, Rachel Long, Malika Booker, Jolade Olusanya, Fatima Kelleher, Yomi Sode, Theresa Lola and Inua Ellams.
13th June, ran a workshop for Frank PR firm as part of their staff retreat.
Octavia Collective interviewed for the February 2017 Issue of ASOS Magazine.
Home, a short film as part of Gal-dem magazine women of color poets exhibtion