Raymond Antrobus FRSL was born in London, Hackney to an English mother and Jamaican father, he is the author of ‘Shapes & Disfigurements‘ (Burning Eye, 2012) ‘To Sweeten Bitter‘ (Out-Spoken Press, 2017), ‘The Perseverance‘ (Penned In The Margins / Tin House, 2018) and ‘All The Names Given’ (Picador / Tin House, 2021)
In 2019 he became the first ever poet to be awarded the Rathbone Folio Prize for best work of literature in any genre.
Other accolades include the Ted Hughes award, PBS Winter Choice, A Sunday Times Young Writer of the year award, Somerset Maugham award and The Guardian Poetry Book Of The Year 2018, as well as a shortlist for the Griffin Prize and Forward Prize. In 2018 he was awarded ‘The Geoffrey Dearmer Prize‘, (Judged by Ocean Vuong), for his poem ‘Sound Machine‘. Also in 2019, his poem ‘Jamaican British’ was added to the UK’s GCSE syllabus.
He is the recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem, Complete Works 3, Jerwood Compton and the Royal Society of Literature. He is also one of the world’s first recipients of an MA in Spoken Word education from Goldsmiths University.
Raymond is a founding member of ‘Chill Pill‘ and ‘Keats House Poets Forum‘, he is an Ambassador for ‘The Poetry School‘ and a board member for ‘English PEN’ (an organisation that promotes freedom of expression and literature across frontiers),
His poems have been published in POETRY, Poetry Review, Lit Hub, News Statesman, The Deaf Poets Society, among others.
Raymond also writes for young readers. His debut children’s picture book ‘Can Bears Ski?’ is illustrated by Polly Dunbar and is published in the UK by Walker Books (2021) and in the US/Canada by Candle Wick Press (2020). It was selected as a Ezra Jack Keats honoree winner in 2021.
Raymond has read and performed his poetry at festivals (Glastonbury, Latitude, BOCAS etc) to universities (Oxford, Goldsmiths, Cambridge etc). In 2020 he completed residencies at Warwick University, University of East Angelia and Swansea University.
He has won numerous Slams (Farrago International Slam Champion 2010, The Canterbury Slam 2013 and was joint winner at the Open Calabash Slam in 2016).