Yomi Ṣode

The Judges said:

Manorism impressed with its extraordinary mix of mores and manners, its tender exploration of black masculinity, its love of the mandem and of Caravaggio, the wide open reach into the voices of the ancestors and the voices of now.

In poems exploring family, survival, generational trauma and the complexities of belonging, Manorism is an examination of the lives of Black British men and boys. At the heart of the book is the ongoing pressure of code-switching – changing one’s behaviour and language to suit radically different cultural contexts and environments. The violence of artists such as Caravaggio in seventeenth-century Rome and modern-day commentary by the likes of David Starkey and Piers Morgan provide a lens for considering differences of impunity afforded to white and Black people.

Published by Penguin Poetry

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Yomi Ṣode is an award-winning Nigerian British writer. He is a recipient of the 2019 Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship and was shortlisted for the Brunel International African Poetry Prize 2021. His acclaimed one-man show COAT toured nationally to sold-out audiences, and his 2020 libretto Remnants, written in collaboration with award-winning composer James B. Wilson and performed with Chineke! Orchestra, premiered on BBC Radio 3. In 2021, his play, and breathe… premiered at the Almeida Theatre to rave reviews.


Five Questions for Yomi Ṣode

At what age did you know you wanted to become a writer?

Around nine years old. I remember really enjoying the writing process and the merit I received for my story. I did not revisit this until a later stage when I wrote to music. The storytelling never left, irrespective of the platform.

What was your favourite childhood book?

I can’t recall having a favourite book as a child. Having arrived in England from Nigeria, not speaking much English, I was consuming everything around me. I did take a liking to comics and animation. Images provided the emotional context while I was making sense of a lot of things.


What three books would you take to your Desert Island?

Difficult question!!

Chinua Achebe: Things Fall Apart

Octavia E. Butler: Kindred

Raymond Carver: What we talk about, when we talk about love


What is your ‘if you don’t like this, you can’t be my friend’ book?

Lol. Harsh. Erm.. Bell Hooks: All about love is up there.


If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing? 

Journalism, for sure.