Some poetry reaches out and touches you, Sai’s poetry stretches out and grabs you
~ Benjamin Zephaniah
Social commentary at its best… wry, witty and biting… traverses standard poetry and prose
~ The Jamaica Gleaner
Sai Murray is a writer, poet, spoken word artist, graphic designer of Bajan/Afrikan/English heritage. His debut poetry collection Ad-liberation (2013) was described as “words that breathe – enliven – words that dance before transfixed audiences. Oh, memories of Tracey Chapman’s ‘Talking about a Revolution’” (The Jamaica Gleaner).
His dramatic performances employ a fusion of techniques varying from reggae-rhythms to hip-hop flow to stand up comedy, displaying an “insight that is irresistibly politicising and humanising with humour, angry-yet-calm honesty, linguistic punch, tenderness, and barefaced cheek” (Red Pepper magazine). He has performed his ‘seriously playful and playfully serious’ poetry on stages throughout the UK, across the US, Afrika and in the Caribbean for over a decade appearing at international festivals including: Busboys & Poets (Washington DC), Brave New Voices (San Francisco), Shake the Dust (Southbank, London), UpRise (UK). He has been a finalist in several slam competitions including: Mo Juice (Barbados), Ilkley Literature Festival, Superheroes of Slam.
In 2015 Sai was the lead writer on Virtual Migrants’ touring production Continent Chop Chop – a theatrical performance combining poetry, music and digital media that addressed issues of migration, racism, austerity and climate justice. He currently holds positions as: resident poet at Numbi; creative writing facilitator/mentor of The Write Stuff with mental health arts charity Artists in Mind; the arts and politics editor of Sable LitMag; artistic director of Scarf magazine; board member of Remember Oluwale and an organising member of PARCOE (the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe).
Projects Sai has been commissioned for include: Weatherfronts: Writing Climate Change – with Zena Edwards and Selina Nwulu (2015); Action Saro-Wiwa – poetry for the Ogoni 9 Living Memorial journey to Nigeria (2015); lead artist on the Re-Membering project (2010); Platform’s C Words: Culture, Carbon, Climate, Capital (2009) – poetry residency with Dorothea Smartt; Southwark 2007B Poet in Residence (2008) and being chosen as one of Yorkshire’s six most talented literary artists for FWords: Creative Freedom (2008).
As an educator, Sai has helped develop several art-activist initiatives and is a founding poet facilitator/mentor on Platform’s youth arts and campaigning program: Voices that Shake!. He is one of the UK’s leading youth poet coaches with winning teams at: Leeds Young Authors Voices of a New Generation (2009, 2010, 2012), the Speak Up slam (2012), South Yorkshire Poetry Slam (2012) and at the largest ever UK national slam, Shake the Dust (2012).
In a former life Sai worked in advertising – clean for over 15 years he now works with selected grassroots community organisations through his artist/activist promotions agency, Liquorice Fish. He has designed, edited and published several books, resources and toolkits including: Re-Membering: A Creative Journey to Wholeness – AiM (2010); No Condition Is Permanent: 19 Poets on Climate Justice and Change – Platform (2010); Abeng Soundings: A Timeline of Anti-Slavery Resistance – S2007B (2008); Cross Community Dialogue Facilitation Toolkit – Grassroots Rising (2007); What’s This Place? – Stories from Radical Social Centres in the UK and Ireland – Autonomus Geographies Project (2008); Retrofitting the Corporate City: 5 Principles for Urban Survival – P. Chatterton (2006).
The first part of Sai’s debut novel, Kill Myself Now: The True Confessions of An Advertising Genius is published by Peepal Tree Press. Sai’s poetry and short stories also feature in the anthologies: Red; Closure; Creative Freedom; Tangled Roots; and Dance The Guns to Silence.