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, performance and graphic artist 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…” (The Jamaica Gleaner) with 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 throughout the UK, across the US, Afrika and in the Caribbean for over a decade appearing at international festivals including: Mboka (The Gambia), 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 and was longlisted for a Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship in 2017.
In 2018, Sai was commissioned with Shake! as a poet/ visual artist for the inaugural Black Cultural Activism Map: a multi-artform theatrical performance (song, live poetry, film, audio interviews, soundscapes and improvised dance) developed out of ‘reparations dialogues’ between marginalised youth, artists, respected community elders and activists. In 2015 he 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; co-director of Chapeltown Arts; arts and politics editor of Sable LitMag; artistic director of Scarf magazine; board member of Remember Oluwale; a trustee of The Racial Justice Network; and an organising member of PARCOE (the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe).
As an educator, Sai has helped develop several art-activist initiatives and is a founding artistic director of 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: Ilkley Literature Festival’s Words in The City Poetry Slam (2018, 2019); 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).
Further projects Sai has been commissioned for include: Who Is Full? (2018); 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).
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: Closure; Filigree; Red; Creative Freedom; Tangled Roots; and Dance The Guns to Silence.