Photo credit: Jolade Olusanya

Isabelle Baafi is British-born writer and editor of Jamaican and South African descent. Her poetry pamphlet, Ripe (Ignition Press, 2020), won a Somerset Maugham Award 2021, and was the Poetry Book Society’s Pamphlet Choice for Spring 2021.

She won First Prize in the Winchester Poetry Prize 2023, Second Prize in the London Magazine Poetry Prize 2022, and the Vincent Cooper Literary Prize 2019. She was shortlisted for the Oxford Poetry Prize 2022, the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award 2022, the Brunel International African Poetry Prize 2021, the Bridport Prize for Poetry 2020, and the Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition 2019. She was also Highly Commended in the Manchester Poetry Prize 2023, Commended in the Verve Poetry Festival Competition 2020, and nominated for Best of the Net in 2020.

Her writing has been published or is forthcoming in the TLS, The Poetry Review, The London Magazine, Magma, Oxford Poetry, bath magg, and elsewhere. Her work has also been anthologised by Broken Sleep Books, Verve Poetry Press, 20.35 Africa, and Brittle Paper.

She is the Reviews Editor at Poetry London and has guest- or co-edited issues of Magma, Poetry Wales, and Tentacular. She is also a Ledbury Poetry Critic, an Obsidian Foundation Fellow, and an editor at Magma.

She has been commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and Verve Poetry Press. She was a member of the Creative Access & Penguin Random House Mentoring Programme (2021-22), the Griot’s Well Programme with Writerz and Scribez (2020), and the London Library’s Emerging Writer’s Programme (2019-20).

She has performed at the Bradford Literature Festival, the BBC Contains Strong Language Festival, the Winchester Poetry Festival, the Ledbury Poetry Festival, the Poetry in Aldeburgh Festival, the Verve Poetry Festival, the Battersea Arts Centre’s Homegrown Festival, the London Library Lit Fest, the Barbican Library, Clapham Library, and Westminster Reference Library.

She has a BA in Comparative Literature and Film from the University of Kent, and an MSt with Distinction in Creative Writing from the University of Oxford, where she was a Kellogg Scholar.

She lives in London and is currently writing her debut collection.