With strongly and beautifully worded pieces and a powerful presence, Tolu Agbelusi’s work addresses the unperformed self, womanhood and the art of living. Her delivery is simply, enchanting. Known for simplicity and incredible depth, Tolu is a Nigerian British, poet, playwright, facilitator and lawyer, with compelling story telling skills.
Listed in 2017 as one the Best Black British Writers of Colour by Speaking Volumes, Tolu was also ‘Longlisted for the inaugural Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowships’. She has performed widely including at the Southbank’s WOW Festival 2017 with her project ‘Conversations With My Sisters’, as one of the headline poets at Southdown Poetry Festival, at St Paul’s Cathedral as part of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ and as Poet in Residence at Postman’s Park in collaboration with the Poetry School and London Park’s and Garden’s Trust. She was also a member of Bards Without Borders who toured the UK in 2016.
Notably, in 2016, Tolu was awarded 2 Art’s Council grants to produce the Home Is… project , a poetry based, cross-arts exploration of home and displacement involving interviews, workshops, a poetry-play and a visual arts exhibition that showcased animation, dance, documentary and illustration, all in collaboration with poetry. Tolu showcased her writing, performance, curatorial, production and facilitation skills through this process. The play Ilé La Wà, Tolu’s debut multi-hander received rave reviews from theatre critics and should be touring shortly.
Building on the project, Tolu launched #HomeSessions, a seasonal 3 month poetry program for writers of colour under the age of 30. She also facilitates writing sessions on demand, most recently as Associate Artist for 3ff on their young people’s manifesto project, leading a workshop at the Southdown Poetry Festival and as a guest speaker at King’s College London.
A Callaloo Fellow, Tolu is published in Brittle Paper and in After Ferguson, In Solidarity!, an anthology published by Mourning Glory. Her poems will also be featured in the upcoming Fall publication by Pittsburgh Poetry Review.
Tolu is currently working on her first poetry collection.