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The Global Cultures Institute (GCI) welcomes Patience Agbabi to present the institute's inaugural lecture, titled Stories in Stanza’d English: a Cross-Cultural Canterbury Tales.

Telling Tales is a multicultural, 21st century retelling of The Canterbury Tales cast as a poetry slam set on a Routemaster bus travelling from London to Canterbury. Inspired by Chaucer’s innovative poetic forms and his use of the vernacular, this talk explores how the stanza can transcend cultural boundaries through versions of The Wife of Bath’s Tale, The Man of Law’s Tale and The Franklyn’s Tale. The talk will be punctuated with live reading and celebrate Nigerian English and Newcastle dialect, the corona and rime royale.

The talk will be 60 mins followed by a 30 min Q&A, with a reception and book-signing afterwards.

Patience Agbabi by Lyndon Douglas courtesy of Renaissance One - 1M - pearls portrait 2014 540x540

About the speaker

Patience Agbabi is a poet much celebrated for paying equal homage to literature and performance. Her work moves fluidly and nimbly between cultures, dialects, voices; between page and stage. After reading English at Pembroke College, Oxford, she completed an MA in Creative Writing at Sussex University. Prominent on the London spoken word circuit since the early nineties, she has toured both with the British Council and independently. Agbabi has lectured in Creative Writing at Greenwich, Cardiff and Kent Universities and her poems and writing are studied in schools and universities. She has participated in residencies from Eton College to Flamin’ Eight, a tattoo studio; from The Historic Dockyard at Chatham to stately home Harewood House. In 2004 she was named as one of the Poetry Society's 'Next Generation' poets. Her collection, Telling Tales, written during her time as Canterbury Poet Laureate, was published by Canongate in 2014 and was shortlisted for The Poetry Society’s Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry the same year. In 2017 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. In the last four years, Patience has turned her talents to writing a tetralogy for children aged 8 to ∞. The Leap Cycle is a thrilling time-travel adventure series and the debut novel, The Infinite (Canongate, 2020) won the Wales Book of the Year (Children & Young People Award) and was shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the Scottish Teenage Book Prize. The fourth book, The Past Master, was published in Feb 2024. Internationally, Agbabi has performed in the US, Southern Africa and Europe widely, and she had a short residency at Yale earlier this year. The event is supported by Renaissance One.

About the GCI

As a recently established research-focused institute, the GCI aims to foster interdisciplinary conversations that explore cultural boundaries and how these might be shaped, adjusted and overcome. We envisage our Annual Lecture as an opportunity to reflect on what this kind of cultural crossing might mean and how it might be enacted.

Event details

Nash Lecture Theatre (K2.31)
Strand Campus
Strand, London, WC2R 2LS

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