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Durham University

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Mr Kayombo Chingonyi, BA (Sheffield), MA (London)

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Assistant Professor in the Department of English Studies

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I joined Durham in 2018 after ten years working mainly as a freelance writer and events producer in which capacity I founded and hosted two literary and musical event series; toured extensively around the world; collaborated with visual artists, music producers, composers, and dancers; wrote and performed verse drama; and completed commissions for Argent, Louis Vuitton, and Sony among others. The backbone of my work as a writer is poetry but I also write essays, literary criticism, and short stories for journals and anthologies. 

My research interests are in contemporary poetry and in particular the intersection of poetry and music. I am also engaged in the fields of critical race studies, black studies, and studies of whiteness with a particular focus on performativity and lyric subjectivity. Of late I've been working on a conference paper exploring the figure of the 'sweetboy' in grime lyricism.

My latest book, Kumukanda (Chatto & Windus, 2017) was a Guardian and Telegraph book of the year and won the International Dylan Thomas Prize and a Somerset Maugham Award. I have been a Burgess Fellow at the Centre for New Writing, University of Manchester, and an Associate Poet at The Institute of Contemporary Arts, London. I serve as poetry editor for The White Review, am a fellow of the Complete Works Programme for Diversity and Quality in British Poetry, and am a member of the Advisory Board for the Ledbury Emerging Critics Scheme


Indicators of Esteem

  • Poetry Editor - The White Review:
  • 2012: Geoffrey Dearmer Prize:
  • 2013: Literature Residency at Cove Park:
  • 2018: International Dylan Thomas Prize:
  • 2018: Judge for Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition:
  • 2018: Judge for Poetry Business New Poets Prize:
  • 2018: Judge White Review Poets' Prize:
  • 2018: Somerset Maugham Award:
  • 2019: Judge for #Merky Books New Writers' Prize:


Authored book

  • (2017). Kumukanda. Chatto & Windus.
  • (2016). The Colour of James Brown's Scream. Akashic Books.
  • (2012). Some Bright Elegance. Salt Publishing.