Octavia Biaf
Talks & Ideas

Octavia is a poetry collective for women of colour, founded by poet, Rachel Long in response to the lack of inclusivity and representation in poetry and academia. Octavia are housed at the Southbank Centre, London. Since their creation in 2015, Octavia have read at venues from Tate Britain to Latitude Festival (where Solange touched Amina’s hand). They’ve led workshops at The Poetry School and The Serpentine Galleries, and featured in The Guardian, ASOS Magazine and on BBC’s World Service. Octavia closed Women of the World Festival 2017 with their poetry-film-dance response to Margaret Atwood’s seminal feminist novel, The Handmaid’s Tale


About the poets

Amina Jama is a Somali-British writer. She was the Roundhouse & BBC Radio 1Xtra’s Words First London finalist, alumni of Barbican Young Poets, co-host of BoxedIN at Boxpark, Shoreditch, and Assistant Tutor for the Roundhouse Poetry Collective. Her work explores displacement, dual cultural identity and family. She has been published in The Things I Would Tell You, a Saqi Books anthology, and Rising Stars children’s anthology by Otter-Barry Books. She has been commissioned by the BBC, The Queens Gallery, Buckingham Palace, and the London Mayors Office.
Sumia Jaama/Juxun is poet, educator and coder. Co-founder of SAWTI and winner of FourHubs’ 2018 Poetry Prize, she is a Barbican Young Poet Alumni and a recent graduate of the Creative Writing and Education MA at Goldsmith, University of London. She often writes about movement and the constant process of leaving. Her work has been published in Filigree: Contemporary Black British Poetry, Khidr Zine Issue Two: ShifaaYour name is a boat amongst others as well as poems commissioned by Royal Academy of Arts and Keats House Museum.
Rachel Long is a poet & the founder of Octavia – Poetry Collective for Womxn of Colour. Octavia was founded in response to the lack of inclusivity and representation in poetry and the academy. Octavia are housed at the Southbank Centre, London. Rachel’s work has featured in Magma, The London Magazineand Filigree: An Anthology of Contemporary Black British Poetry. She is co-tutor on the Barbican Young Poets Programme and Poetry Fellow of University of Hertfordshire.