The National Judging Team – Itinerant Judges
Read about the national judging team below, a group of experienced spoken word professionals, who travelled independently to join regional judges at the Shake the Dust Regional Finals and judged at The National Shake the Dust Weekend.


Joelle Taylor

Joelle Taylor is a professional spoken word artist, published poet and playwright, as well as the founder and Artistic Director of SLAMbassadors UK, the national youth slam championships administered by the Poetry Society. She has performed nationally and internationally for the British Council, touring both Zimbabwe and Botswana, and has performed at a diverse range of high profile venues including the Royal Festival Hall, Ronnie Scott’s, Buckingham Palace, the 02 arena and Glastonbury Festival amongst many others. She is a free-verse poet but works across all forms, including rap and beatbox. As well as this she is the curator of MotherFoucault, a spoken word cabaret show held at various venues around London. She has led a courses and featured as a guest poet at the Arvon Foundation. She is anthologised widely and has also appeared on numerous television and radio programmes. Her new poetry collection Ska Tissue was released in June 2011 and is now in its second edition. She toured the UK over the summer, and hosted the Glastonbury Festival Slam as well as the Larmer Tree Festival among others. Her novel Whorror Stories is due for completion in 2012. She is Poet in Residence at Kingsmead School in Hackney. / @joelletaylor


Khadijah Ibrahiim

Khadijah Ibrahiim is of Jamaican parentage, born in the city of Leeds, England. Educated at the University of Leeds; she has a MA in Theatre Studies. She is the Artistic Director of Leeds Young Authors, the Producer of Voices of a New Generation Youth Poetry Slam festival and the mentor to the UK Youth slam team at Brave New Voices International Slam USA since 2004. Peepal Tree press published her poetry collection Rootz Runnin in 2008 that same year she toured the USA with the Fwords Creative Freedom writers. As a delegate for the Art Council England (Yorkshire) she attended Calabash International Literature Festival in Jamaica. Recently, she became one of the first international writers to attend the El Gouna Writers Residency in Egypt, 2010.
She was a member of the advisory group that organised some of the events, which marked the visit of Dr Nelson Mandela to the City of Leeds. Hailed as one of Yorkshire’s ‘most prolific’ poets by BBC Radio, she continues to make various stage appearances across Britain, the USA, the Caribbean and Africa. Peepal Tree Press will publish her latest collection of poems later this year.

Charlie Dark

Charlie Dark is a dynamic part of the United Kingdom’s poetry and performance scene as a writer, producer and DJ known for flamboyant gestures and vocal gymnastics. He is one third of the hip hop-inspired trio Attica Blues, and has toured around the globe (both independently and with the band) to points as far dispersed as Tokyo, New York and Berlin. He makes regular appearances on the literature and spoken word circuit, is an experienced tutor and workshop facilitator, and was a Poet Coach for the London Teenage Poetry Slam for three years running. Charlie founded Blacktronica, a monthly showcase of the black electronic music scene in Britain.


Charlotte Higgins

Charlotte Higgins is a young poet and performer from Northern Ireland. She is in her first year studying English at Cambridge University, where she is a student at Christ’s College. After attending writing courses at Villiers Park and with the Arvon Foundation, she won the Museum of London Latin Poetry prize, and was commended in the Foyle Young Poet of the Year Award 2010. She is one of the SLAMbassadors 2012 champions, and has had the privilege of performing at the 100 Club alongside the other SLAMbassadors winners, Joelle Taylor, Dizraeli and Chris Preddie OBE. She has recorded love poetry with Fiona Shaw for Peace Camp, a poetry project taking place as part of the London 2012 Festival. In the summer of 2012 she will be involved in the Poetry Parnassus Festival at the Southbank Centre, acting as one of 50 Poetry Parnassus buddies and taking part in the Rain of Poems.


Stephen Murray

Stephen Murray is a poet, author and adventurer from the West of Ireland. He is director of Youth Speaks Ireland, an all-Ireland schools poetry slam and in 2013 he will curate Ireland’s first ever Brave New Words Festival, a festival celebrating young writing. He has won numerous awards for both his writing and performances and has performed as guest feature in some of the world’s most iconic poetry venues, including the birth place of slam The Green Mill, Chicago, The Nuyorican and Bowery Poetry Cafe, NYC. He has also performed on Ireland’s RTE Arena radio, BBC Television, and RTE Television’s Nationwide will run a program featuring Youth Speaks slam later this year. His debut poetry collection ‘House of Bees’ was published in 2011 by Salmon Poetry to widespread critical acclaim. To promote it he cycled 5,800 miles around the USA, through an earthquake. a killer heatwave and finally Hurricane Irene. Once in New York he performed his work with legendary jazz pianist Brad Mehldau as the hurricane raged around him.