Tolu Agbelusi is a Nigerian British, poet, playwright, performer, educator and lawyer whose work addresses the unperformed self, womanhood and the art of living.
Her debut poetry collection Locating Strongwoman (Jacaranda Books) was published on 1 October 2020. A Callaloo Fellow, Agbelusi’s work was shortlisted for the 2018 White Review Poetry Prize and she was a 2017 BBC Slam Finalist. She has been published internationally and widely including in Aké Review, White Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Brittle Paper and Peepal Tree’s Filligree Anthology. She has also featured on many stages and platforms including Cheltenham Literary Festival, Stanza International Poetry Festival, Lagos International Poetry Festival, the London Southbank and for the BBC.
Her multi-disciplinary project Home Is… which explored the concept of home in the midst of constant, through poetry based collaborations with theatre, animation, documentary, illustration, dance and workshops was supported by Arts Council, England. Agbelusi’s play, Ilé La Wà (we are home) debuted to a sold out audience at Richmix in 2016 and subsequently toured the UK, staging productions at Stratford Circus, Contact, The Lowry, The Curve, New Theatre Royal Portsmouth, Proteus and Streatham Space. Agbelusi’s ability to curate cultural experiences was on full display in the Home Is… project which showcased a true conversation between art forms and themes in a number of exhibitions, following which she lended expertise as a consultant and participant for the on the Home Exhibition which took place at King’s College London’s Exchange hub.
Using poetry and performance as a translation tool for academic research, Agbelusi has worked with a wide range of academics at King’s College London devising and leading workshops on topics including Brexit, exclusion, Gender Based Violence, the politics of language and the far right, etc. She devised and led ‘Poetry as Protest to Black Letter Law’ for Phd Students at Birbeck and is the creator of Home Sessions, a development community for young Black poets. Agbelusi facilitates workshops at schools, arts centres, festivals and universities.
She is also a human rights lawyer.