Kayo Chingonyi

Kayo Chingonyi (b. 1987, Mufulira, Zambia) moved to the UK aged six after the death of his father. When he was thirteen, he lost his mother, around whose absence many of the poems in A Blood Condition (and his debut, Kumukanda) revolve. Chingonyi’s work is meditative and lyrical – ‘It’s gratifying to know that the kind of work which is my wheelhouse, which is sometimes considered quiet, subtle, understated, can still resonate’, he writes in response to his shortlisting.

Chingonyi lives in West Yorkshire and teaches Creative Writing at Durham University. Newcastle was his first destination after leaving the Copperbelt of Zambia, and many of the poems in A Blood Condition focus Chingonyi’s deft eye for place on the North East of England – ‘the part of me / lost to the realm / of ledgers / of legend’ (‘a northerly aspect’).

Forward Prizes History:

  • 2021 Forward Prizes for Best Collection, shortlisted for, A Blood Condition (Chatto and Windus)