Keith Jarrett

One of Val McDermid’s selected writers for the International Literature Showcase


“A poetry slam champion both in the UK and internationally.”

Val McDermid

Cross-genre writer & performer; British and Caribbean history, sexuality, religion…

A UK and International Slam winner, Keith’s work includes two books of poetry and multiple commissions, from the British Museum to Heritage England, with bilingual performances in Bilbao and Madrid, and British Council trips to Uganda, India and Brazil. His short fiction and essays have been widely anthologised.

Keith’s poem, ‘From the Log Book’, was projected onto St. Paul’s Cathedral as a WW2 commemorative installation. His play, Safest Spot in Town, was filmed for BBC Four’s ‘Queers’ series and performed at the Old Vic. He was a PhD scholar at Birkbeck University, where he now teaches.

Read Juno’s interview with The Guardian

“lyrically rich poems, charged with emotion, passion and lots of humour” – Sabotage

“clever, insightful, humorous and humbling… an excellent poet and one to watch” – Three Weeks

“articulate, erudite and well-informed… his beat reminiscent of Linton Kwesi Johnson and the dub poets of the eighties, of rap artists emergent since the nineties, and – of the most celebrated poets of the twentieth century.” – BroadwayBaby

“Keith Jarrett’s poems combine a rhetorical purposefulness with a smart and adventurous imagination” – Jack Underwood, on I Speak Home

“This new black British voice is relevant and necessary” – Malika Booker, on Selah

I’m honoured to have been selected alongside such phenomenal writers!




  • 2017 – Selah (Burning Eye) – poetry pamphlet/collection
  • 2015 – I Speak Home (Eyewear) – poetry pamphlet
  • 2013 – Hainault via Newbury Park and other broken tracks – pamphlet (longlisted for Polari First Book Award)

Significant contributions

  • 2021 – ‘It May Concern’, Mainstream – short story
  • 2020 – ’50 Observations on Avoidance’, The Book of Queer Prophets
  • 2019 – ‘Poetry that Needs to Be Heard’, Creative Writing Coursebook (Macmillan) – essay
  • 2018 – Filigree: Contemporary Black British Poetry (Peepal Tree Press) – poetry
  • 2017 – ‘Safest Spot in Town’, Queers (BBC/Nick Hern Books) – play and film
  • 2015 – ‘We Live in Hope and Die in Constant Spring’, Emerge: Lambda Literary Fellows Anthology (Lambda Literary) – fiction
  • 2014 – ‘Meditations on Home’, Black & Gay in the UK (Team Angelica) – essay/memoir
  • 2010 – ‘Listening Out for the Sea’, Boys & Girls (Glasshouse Books) – fiction


  • UK and International Poetry Slam winner, Keith has published two books of poetry and has been commissioned by the Royal Festival Hall, the British Museum, and Heritage England. With UK-wide performances, from arts institutions to the Houses of Parliament, his international work has included bilingual performances in Bilbao and Madrid, and British Council trips to Uganda and Brazil.
  • His play, Safest Spot in Town, was aired on BBC Four, and performed at the Old Vic in 2017. He is a regular contributor to BBC Radio, and a PhD scholar at Birkbeck University, where he is completing his first novel.

Contact Keith


Twitter: @keithjlondon


Burning Eye books – Clive Birnie


Photos © Ajamu