Inua Ellams to release first full poetry collection, ‘The Actual F*ck’

Posted on: 2nd October 2020

Performer, graphic artist, designer, playwright, and poet Inua Ellams will soon release his first full poetry collection, The Actual F*ck.

Written on his phone, in transit, between meetings, before falling asleep, and just after waking, this is poetry as a polemic, as an act of resistance, as a middle finger to a litany of grievances.

The Actual is a symphony of personal and political fury – sometimes probing delicately, sometimes burning with raw energy. In 55 poems that swerve and crackle rare music, Inua unleashes a full-throated assault on empire and its legacies of racism, injustice, and toxic masculinity.

At its heart, this book confronts the absolutism and ‘foolish machismo’ of hero culture – from Trump to Rudyard Kipling, Batman, and the Joker. Through the thick gauze of history, these breathtaking poems look the world square in the face and ask, “What the actual-?”

In celebration of his new book, Inua will be completing an online book launch for The Actual in collaboration with Penned in the Margins, beginning on Monday 5 October 2020. Book your tickets here.

Online book launch dates

Monday 5 October – The Actual Publication Day Livestream – 8pm BST/ Twitter @PennedintheM

Tuesday 6 October – F*ck / Tupac – Film & Visual Art Drop – 11am BST/

Wednesday 7 October – F*ck / Beethoven – BBCRadio3 Essay Drop – 11am BST/

Thursday 8 October – F*ck / Batman – Binaural Radio Play Drop – 11am BST/ inuaellams/com/news

Friday 9 October – The Actual F*cking Book Launch – Zoom – 7pm BST/

Hosted by Inua Ellams with contributions from: Raymond Antrobus, Dai George, Keisha Thompson, Zaahida Nabagereka, JJ Bola, Nikesh Shukla, Lavinia Singer, Anthony Anaxaforou, Theresa Ikoko, and Afua Hirsch with live readings from: Lily Loveless (Skins), Sope Dirisu (Gangs of London), Natalie Simpson (Outlander, Three Sisters), Andrew McMillan (Guardian First Book Award) and the legendary Lenny Henry (Everything!).


Inua has 17 other books in print, a combination of plays, and poetry. You can see Inua’s full range of books here.