Courtney Conrad Readings

Courtney Conrad Readings


'The poems in this pamphlet speak from a visceral place in the face of political and personal violence.  But what Conrad does is make the language itself the means of defiance.  This is English remade, remashed. It hacks out a route to survival through its agility and its music and is unstoppable.  So, I expect, is this poet.’ – Imtiaz Dharker, Judge of the Mslexia Poetry Pamphlet Competition 2022 on the winning pamphlet I Am Evidence


In September 2023, Courtney Conrad's I Am Evidence was announced as winner of Mslexia's 2022 Women's Poetry Pamphlet Competition, judged by Imtiaz Dharker. The winning pamphlet was published by Bloodaxe Books as part of the prize. I Am Evidence went on to win the 2023 Michael Marks Poetry Award.

Courtney read live from the pamphlet at Bloodaxe's September online launch event on 19 September, alongside Jen Campbell and Nicole Sealey. Scroll down to see the video. Her in-person launch at Africa House sold out, so she gave a second event there on 4 November 2023. 

Courtney Conrad is a Jamaican poet who now lives in London. She received a Bridport Prize Young Writer Award in 2021. She was shortlisted for The White Review Poet’s Prize, the Manchester Poetry Prize, Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition and Aesthetica Creative Writing Award’s Poetry Prize, and was longlisted for the National Poetry Competition and for the Women Poets’ Prize (Rebecca Swift Foundation). Her pamphlet I Am Evidence includes poems which also won Courtney Conrad an Eric Gregory Award in 2022.

Courtney’s powerful work interrogates the tensions within Caribbean migration, gender-based violence and national politics. Migrating from Kingston as a teenager, she is unflinching in her attempts to capture the vibrancy and violence of her experiences in both the UK and Jamaica. Her poetry draws together subversive diasporic imagery, national political commentary and shatteringly personal narrative in its exacting response to the political corruption and violence she witnessed as a young girl in Jamaica in the wake of its colonial subjugation under the British Empire. 

'Each poem in Courtney Conrad’s I Am Evidence has breathtaking individual force, and collectively they form a sweeping and viscerally personal montage of belonging and inequality across the UK and Jamaica. The voice threading through the poems is clear, warm and resolute, guiding the reader through explorations of cultural identity, violence and political corruption. [...] The poems act as bridges, occupying a rich in-between space by using cinematic imagery and vibrant linguistic interweaving of English with Jamaican patois. Conrad’s skill as a storyteller gives these poems a flesh-and-blood quality of witness bearing. [...] This pamphlet speaks with both grit and sensitivity for the persevering, for those holding on.' – S.C. O’Reilly, The Poetry Review


Read more about Courtney Conrad and her journey into writing poetry on the Mslexia website here.






Jen Campbell, Courtney Conrad and Nicole Sealey launched their new poetry collections at Bloodaxe's live-streamed launch event on 19 September 2023. All three poets read live and discussed their new collections with each other and with the host, Bloodaxe poet John Challis. Courtney Conrad's pamphlet I Am Evidence is published by Bloodaxe as the winner of the 2022 Mslexia Women's Poetry Pamphlet Competition, judged by Imtiaz Dharker.

This event was livestreamed on our YouTube channel and is now available to watch online:

[19 October 2023]

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