Inua Ellams is an internationally renowned poet, playwright, performer, graphic artist and designer. Born in Nigeria in 1984, Ellams moved to the UK as a refugee when he was 12 and published his first pamphlet, Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales, in 2005. Several more poetry books have followed: Candy Coated Unicorn and Converse (2011), The Wire-Headed Heathen (2015), #Afterhours (2017), The Half-God of Rainfall (2019), and The Actual (2020). Ellams is also an accomplished playwright who has produced over 21 plays. His acclaimed production Barber Shop Chronicles (2017), which is set across six barber shops in different cities across Africa and its diaspora, sold out two runs at the National Theatre and has subsequently toured nationally and internationally. Playwriting has been an evolution from Ellams’ poetry, who has at times written and performed long poems, dense with imagery, before handing them over to be presented by others. His linguistic style has been influenced by a range of themes including African orature, music, masculinity, displacement, and belonging. Ellams is co-creator of R.A.P. Party, a happening and social which invites poets to read their work and share some of their favourite music. He is also the creator of Midnight Runs which has popped up in countries around the world. In 2018, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Zanna Bukars were popularised by the eponymous northern Nigerian Muslim politician who’d worn them in the early ’60s.