1: There is in Makoha’s work an intriguing balance between the immediate and the stately that fits his material and offers possibilities for expansion and further exploration. All that – his personal history, the history of his country and the leaving of it – suggests to me a talent at the beginning of a genuinely important road. George Szirtes
2: I am convinced that literary movements are not accidental occurrences but grow out of the vision, drive and imaginative of a community of supportive and engaged artists. Mailka’s Kitchen is a literary movement whose impact on British poetry will be felt for a long time to come.
These are writers committed to their craft, committed to expanding notions of Britishness through an engagement with the realities of British society and with the many strands that have come to shape that society.
I have been constantly struck by the variety of voices that have found a home in that collective–they resist homogenous thinking and artistic sensibilities, they are tough on each other and yet deeply supportive of the work that is being done; they thrive on generosity of spirit and pragmatism, they are savvy, conscious of their role in society, and canny about how to move forward as professional writers.
Above all, they believe in their art. In time, the evidence of all of this will become clearer to most people, and I am quite convinced that these writers, emerging at a time when the British poetry establishment has struggled to see itself as embracing a diverse and heterogeneous aesthetic, and has in the process, failed many minority writers.
Malika’s Kitchen has represented a dogged commitment to excellence and to survival. There will be a pay off and all of British writing will benefit from this. I am grateful to have had some part to play in the work of this outfit. I congratulate them on the work that has been done thus far and I anticipate with some excitement the work that is going to emerge in the future. Kwame Dawes
3: The debut poetry collection of Nick Makoha, a young poet of Ugandan heritage. This first collection brings to mind shaman in his combination of biblical speak and magical imagery. Roger Robinson
4:‘Nick was great last night. They’re a tricky group, but he really got through to two of them. Nick, he had a well-planned, robust, personal approach that challenged the participants to write in a fresh, individual way. Jon Lloyd, Associate Director at Soho Theatre