We are delighted to announce our new Associate Artists: writer and filmmaker Jay Bernard and poet and artist Khairani Barokka. Supported by Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence Fund, they will be supported to create new work, explore collaborations and work closely with NCW’s audience and communities.

Jay Bernard is a writer from London. Their first collection, Surge, won the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry and was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award, T.S. Eliot Prize, Forward Prize for Best First Collection, Dylan Thomas Prize and RSL Ondaatje Prize. Khairani Barokka is an Indonesian writer and artist based in London. She is co-editor of Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back, author-illustrator of Indigenous Species, and author of debut poetry collection Rope.

Khairani Barokka said:

‘I’m incredibly honoured and grateful to be Associate Artist at the National Centre for Writing. This will allow me to work on writing projects – both nonfiction and poetry – that focus on honouring our bodies and communities in an unequal world, especially in the COVID-19 era.’

As NCW Associate Artists, Bernard and Barokka will each receive a package of support that includes time-to-write funds, commission fees and residency time (virtual or otherwise) to the value of £10,000 to develop a new literary project. The associateship also includes opportunities to perform or speak about their work to NCW audiences and to engage with the writing community in Norwich, England’s first UNESCO City of Literature.

Peggy Hughes, Programme Director at NCW said:

‘NCW’s Associate Artist programme enables us to support writers to produce new work, to use the incredible and unique space and resources at NCW to take risks, to build something new. In this challenging period, when artists’ incomes and means of sharing that work have been severely impacted by COVID, this support and the safety net that allows artistic risk is more necessary than ever. We hugely admire the ambition and range and energy in the work being produced by Khairani Barokka and Jay Bernard and are extremely pleased to be working with them both.’

NCW’s first cohort of Associate Artists were theatre-maker Hannah Jane Walker and writer, publisher and producer Tom Chivers. Chivers, the director of award-winning literary arts company Penned in the Margins, used the opportunity to write a new play set during the British Civil Wars. Walker developed a stage show called Highly Sensitive, which premiered at the City of Literature strand of Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2019 and was turned into a feature for BBC Radio Four.

More about the Associate Artists

Jay Bernard (FRSL FRSA) is a writer from London. Their work is interdisciplinary, critical, queer and rooted in the archive. They won the 2018 Ted Hughes Award for Surge: Side A, a cross-disciplinary exploration of the New Cross Fire in 1981. Jay’s short film Something Said has screened in the UK and internationally, including Aesthetica and Leeds International Film Festival (where it won best experimental and best queer short respectively), Sheffield DocFest and CinemAfrica. Jay is a programmer at BFI Flare, an archivist at Mayday Rooms and resident artist at Raven Row. Their first collection, Surge, was published by Chatto and Windus in 2019.

Khairani Barokka is an Indonesian writer and artist in London, whose work has been presented extensively, in fifteen countries. Modern Poetry in Translation’s Inaugural Poet-In-Residence, in 2020 she is Associate Artist at the National Centre for Writing and Researcher-in-Residence at UAL’s Decolonising the Arts Institute. Among Okka’s honours, she was an NYU Tisch Departmental Fellow and is a UNFPA Indonesian Young Leader Driving Social Change. Okka is co-editor of Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (Nine Arches), author-illustrator of Indigenous Species (Tilted Axis; Vietnamese translation published by AJAR Press), and author of debut poetry collection Rope (Nine Arches Press).