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Kayombo Chingonyi

Assistant Professor

Assistant Professor in the Department of English Studies



I joined Durham as Assistant Professor 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.

My latest book, A Blood Condition (Chatto & Windus, 2021) was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Prize, The Forward Prize for Best Collection, and the T.S. Eliot Prize.

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, an Associate Poet at The Institute of Contemporary Arts, and poetry editor for The White Review. I am a fellow of the Complete Works Programme for Diversity and Quality in British Poetry, a member of the Advisory Board for the Ledbury Emerging Critics Scheme, and poetry editor for Bloomsbury Publishing. As a broadcaster I'm regularly featured on the radio commenting on poetry and literature and I present the award-winning music and culture podcast Decode.

My first longform non-fiction work, a memoir entitled Prodigal, is forthcoming from 4thEstate. 

I was elected fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2022.

Research interests

  • Black Studies
  • Contemporary Poetry
  • Performance
  • Poetry and Music
  • Race and Lyric Subjectivity

Esteem Indicators

  • 2019: Judge for #Merky Books New Writers' Prize:
  • 2018: Judge for Poetry Business New Poets Prize:
  • 2018: Somerset Maugham Award:
  • 2018: Judge White Review Poets' Prize:
  • 2018: Judge for Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition:
  • 2018: International Dylan Thomas Prize:
  • 2013: Literature Residency at Cove Park:
  • 2012: Geoffrey Dearmer Prize:
  • 2000: Poetry Editor - The White Review:
  • 2000: Poetry Editor - Bloomsbury Publishing:

Supervision students