Joelle Taylor Biography

 Agent Laura MacDougall at Tibor Jones 

Joelle Taylor is a spoken word artist, poet, playwright, author and cultural terrorist. She has performed across the UK as well as internationally for the British Council (Zimbabwe, Brazil, Botswana) taking in a diverse range of venues from Dingwalls, the 100 Club, the 02 Arena, the Royal Festival Hall and Ronnie Scott’s to the Royal Court, the Globe, the ICA, Buckingham Palace and both Pentonville and Holloway prisons. She curates and hosts Mother Foucault, an evening of intellectual uprising, powerful poetry and furious dance – with guests including Will Self, Sabrina Mahfouz, Salena Godden and Vanessa Kisuule. She was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Society Arts in 2015 as well as being named as one of Southbank Centre’s Nelson Mandela Change Makers for positively affecting cultural Britain.

Her latest collection The Woman Who Was Not There was published by Burning Eye in 2014.

Her first collection Ska Tissue was released on MotherFoucaultPress in 2011 and after a summer festival tour is now in its third edition.

Her books include The Woman Who Was Not There (2014) Ska Tissue (2011) BRAND (2009), Intwasa (Ama 2008), Acts of Passion (Routledge 1998), BRAND 2 (2011), and Domestic Violence (Scarlet Press 1995).  She has also written numerous texts about theatre and slam poetry for small publications and online texts. She has been published in Wasafari and Magma among other literary magazines, as well as a chapter on slam for Making Poetry Happen (2015 Bloomsbury). She is included in both the Laudanum and She Grrrowls anthologies, due for release in 2017.
Her multi-textual magic realist novel The Woman Who Looked Through Walls has just been completed.

She is also the curator of MotherFoucault Spoken Word Burlesque (2002- date) which has been held at Whitechapel Art Gallery and the Poetry Cafe, and now at Loco Klub in Bristol Temple Meads tunnels, specialising in putting very famous writers into very small places; sometimes about the size of a book. Previous collaborations at MotherFoucault have featured Will Self, Salena Godden, Cherry Smyth, Nina Rapi, Robert Gluck and Fay Weldon.

In 2001 she she co-ordinated the first London wide youth slam championships for the Poetry Society and is currently the Artistic Director of SLAMbassadors UK, the national youth slam championships. Joelle is also the coach of the national team and delivers Master Classes and ongoing mentoring for emerging poets and spoken word artists. She has a wide experience of working in both primary and secondary schools – and was the Poet in Residence at Kingsmead Primary in Hackney. She also tutors adult poetry and spoken word courses – examples of this include Cardboard Citizens, Poetry School, Roundhouse Theatre and Arvon Foundation.

In the early part of her career she was the joint founder and Artistic Director of Spin/ Stir Women’s Physical Theatre Collective with Vanessa Lee.  Her plays are Naming (1994 Oval House Theatre), Whorror Stories (1995 Oval House Theatre), Whorror Stories II (1996 Oval House Theatre), Lucid Johnston (2000 Kings Head Theatre and Oval House Theatre) and Abigail’s Play Party (2009 Royal Festival Hall, published by BRAND). Please see the Theatre section for a full history of the company and their plans for the next few years.


She has appeared on several television (Faking It, Blue Peter, the One Show, Vanessa Feltz Show)  and radio programmes (Women’s Hour, Radio 1 Extra, the Edwina Curry Show). A documentary about her life and work Life Changing Verse was made by Don Productions in 2010 and broadcast on television. She recently featured in Educating the East End for Channel 4.




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