Apples and Snakes: NYLON

Sun 22 Oct 2023, 7.30pm
Queen Elizabeth Hall
Literature & poetry
From £12
past event
past event
An audience enjoying an event.

Acclaimed poets from the US and the UK take centre stage in the final event as part of the spoken word poetry organisation’s 40th anniversary celebrations.

Take part in a captivating evening that celebrates cultural exchange and artistic collaboration, and explores identity, social justice and the complexities of human nature.

We’re joined by Kwame Dawes, Ugochi Nwaogwugwu and Jive Poetic from the US; and Salena Godden and Lemn Sissay from the UK.

Supported by some of the UK’s freshest new voices and house band, this event transcends borders, uniting cultures through the universal languages of music and poetry.

Part of the Speak Up Newcomer programme connecting US & UK poets, produced by Apples and Snakes and Young Identity.

Kwame Dawes has authored 36 books of poetry, fiction, criticism and essays, including Nebraska, Bivouac and City of Bones: A Testament. Speak from Here to There, co-written with Australian poet John Kinsella, appeared in 2016. He holds posts at Prairie Schooner, the University of Nebraska, the African Poetry Book Fund, Calabash International Literary Festival and the Academy of American Poets.

Salena Godden FRSL is an author, poet and broadcaster of Jamaican-mixed heritage. Her debut novel Mrs Death Misses Death won the Indie Book Award for Fiction and the People’s Book Prize. Film and TV rights for the novel have been optioned by Idris Elba’s production company Green Door Pictures. Godden is currently working on a memoir and a poetry collection which are both due for publication in May 2024, plus a second novel set in the Mrs Death Misses Death universe due in spring 2025.

Ugochi Nwaogwugwu is a multidisciplinary creative and founder of Spirit Speaks, Inc. Chicago Music Awards named Nwaogwugwu and her band African Soul Ensemble (A.S.E.) Best African Entertainer in 2005 and 2022. Her poems have featured in anthologies Storm Between Two Fingers and Too Young, Too Loud, Too Different. Nwaogwugwu created an original pan-African poetry form called Ike, paying homage to her Igbo heritage of Nigeria.

Jive Poetic was one of two poets selected by the US Embassy to represent American slam poetry during an international cultural exchange programme in Poland. He has collected grand slam championship titles internationally. He is founder of Insurgent Poets Society and co-founder of Soundbites Poetry Festival, and hosts the open slam at Nuyorican Poets Cafe.

Lemn Sissay OBE is a poet, playwright, memoirist, performer and broadcaster. He was awarded the PEN Pinter Prize in 2019 for memoir My Name Is Why. His Landmark poems can be seen in public spaces around the UK. With Hans Ulrich Obrist, Sissay co-curated the exhibition Poet Slash Artist for Manchester International Festival 2021. He was previously writer in residence at the Southbank Centre, and was the first poet commissioned to write for the London Olympics 2012.

This event was funded in part by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author[s] and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.

Need to know

Age recommendation

For ages 16+

This event is British Sign Language interpreted (BSL).

To book tickets for BSL interpretation, email [email protected] or call us on 020 3879 9555.

You can join our free Access Scheme through your online Southbank Centre account or via email.
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All our Access & facilities information

Dates & times

Sun 22 Oct 2023, 7.30pm


  • Standard entryFrom £12*
  • Concessions25%**

* Excludes £3.50 booking fee.

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** Limited availability. Read about concessions.

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Queen Elizabeth Hall

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Get an overview of the seating layout of Queen Elizabeth Hall by downloading our seating plan.

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An accessible toilet is located in the foyer.

A Changing Places toilet is located on Level 1 Royal Festival Hall next to the JCB Glass Lift, for the exclusive use of disabled people who need personal assistance to use the toilet.

The facility includes a height-adjustable bench, tracking hoist system, a centrally-placed toilet, a height-adjustable basin and a shower. Please visit the Welcome Desk on Level 2, Royal Festival Hall, where a member of staff can provide you with the key. You can also use the phone next to the Changing Places toilet to speak to a member of staff. The facility is open daily 10am – 11pm.


The Queen Elizabeth Hall cloakroom is closed. You won’t be able to bring any bags over 40 x 25 x 25cm into the Queen Elizabeth Hall, so please leave large bags at home.

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For step-free access from the Queen Elizabeth Hall Slip Road off Belvedere Road to the Queen Elizabeth Hall auditorium seating (excluding rows A to C) and wheelchair spaces in the Rear Stalls, plus Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer and the Purcell Room, please use the Queen Elizabeth Hall main entrance.

To reach this entrance, enter the Royal Festival Hall via the Southbank Centre Square Doors. Take the JCB Glass Lift to Level 2 and exit to the Riverside Terrace. Turn right to find the Queen Elizabeth Hall main entrance.

You can also use the external lift near the Artists' Entrance on Southbank Centre Square to reach Mandela Walk, Level 2. 

For access to the Queen Elizabeth Hall auditorium seating rows A to C and wheelchair spaces in the Front Stalls, please enter via the Artists' Entrance in the Queen Elizabeth Hall Slip Road (Level 1).

Talk to a member of staff at the auditorium entrance if you have a disability that means you can’t queue, or you need extra time to take your seat. They can arrange priority entry for you as soon as the doors open.

Please bear with us while we update our access map to reflect the refurbishment of the Royal Festival Hall’s Level 2 foyer spaces. The step-free routes remain the same.

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