Shirley May

Years attended: 2020

Discipline: Poetry

Shirley May has performed widely in the North West as well as nationally and internationally, appearing at the Nuyorican Poets Café in New York and the Calabash writing festival in Jamaica.

She is the director of Young Identity writing collective, which primarily works with 13-25 year olds. Young Identity works in partnership with Contact Theatre, HOME and Manchester International Festival.

Shirley believes her role is to make both performance and page poetry accessible to young people in Manchester. She has worked for 18 years to promote a culture around performance poetry to make it ‘cool’ and happening, by mentoring and supporting new writers in schools and community groups.

Shirley and her team of young writers and mentors believe that the voice of young people in writing is as valid as adult writers. She seeks to free ‘de inna voice’.