Poet. Educator. Storyteller. Activist.
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"Call us the snowflake generation if you like
but you better be dressed for a blizzard."
Matt was a 2018 National Youth Slam Champion and 2021 UniSlam Finalist. He has been published multiple times and performed in the Houses of Parliament and on BBC Radio 4. In 2020 he was the Poet in Residence at Church Action on Poverty. As an activist, Matt has led protests, met with MEPs at the EU parliament and advised the UN on sustainable food systems. His show Kids These Days premiered at Greenbelt Festival and has since been adapted into an audioplay.
Matt has run writing workshops in scout huts, festival tents, pubs, school libraries and soup kitchens, on a range of topics to a variety of groups. He can therefore tailor his workshops for most ages and levels of experience, or design bespoke ones to fit individual client’s needs.
Matt is the Director of +Verse, a new poetry festival happening in Kirkby Lonsdale 12-14 August 2022. Previously, Matt has organised a variety of arts events and protests, and was the Volunteers Coordinator for Tidelines Literature Festival in 2019. He was also the 2020-2021 Literary Events Organiser for the University of Birmingham’s creative writing society.
Matt first learned to work a crowd while leading protests. Since then, he’s hosted charity fundraisers, panel discussions and writing events. This includes open mics for Kendal Poetry Festival, Tidelines Literature Festival, and one in his hometown of Kirkby Lonsdale. In the period 2020-2021, Matt was the host of Grizzly Pear, one of the premiere open mics in Birmingham.
Matt has performed at BBC Contains Strong Language Festival, in the Houses of Parliament and at TedxDoncaster. His show Kids These Days premiered at Greenbelt Festival in 2019. Matt is able to give talks and readings at schools, conferences, protests and poetry events.
Tea | a poem by Matt Sowerby
Breadlines by Matt Sowerby
To Matt, protest and poetry are two sides of the same coin, and he has considerable experience both writing about and protesting about a variety of issues in our society. Within activism, Matt works as a campaigner, workshop facilitater and public speaker. Although much of Matt’s work is intersectional, these are a issues he has primarily campaigned around.
Matt’s climate activism began with him organising a FridaysForFuture protest in his home town. Since then, he was selected to meet with MEPs in the EU Parliament in Brussels and advised the UN on sustainable food systems. His essays have been published by The Poetry Society and The University of Birmingham. Matt has organised and judged a county-wide student climate poetry competition and co-founded KASTLE, a youth-led climate activist group. He now teaches creative workshops helping people deal with eco anxiety.
CAMPAIGNING FOR MENTAL HEALTH
Matt became involved in mental health activism in school, after seeing the impact the UK education system was having on his friend’s wellbeing. Matt has performed mental health poetry at conferences, awareness events and at TedxDoncaster, and has taught several workshops on using art for wellbeing. While still at school, Matt and his friends organised a ‘Wellbeing Week’ festival, which raised awareness for student mental health.
FIGHTING TO END POVERTY
In 2017, Matt won the End Hunger UK writing competition. Since then he has worked with End Hunger UK to creatively combat poverty. Matt’s poetry was used in a campaign to support Emma Lewell-Buck MP’s Food Insecurity Bill, which has now been passed. He has performed in Parliament, spoken at campaign launches and helped people experiencing poverty to share their stories. In 2020, Matt was Poet in Residence at Church Action on Poverty, during which time he co-edited the poetry anthology Same Boat.
"AN EXCITING AND ENGAGING POET WHOSE WORK IS CHARACTERISED BY MUSICALITY, PASSION AND BELIEF IN THE POWER OF LANGUAGE AS A FORCE FOR SOCIAL CHANGE AND JUSTICE."
“HAD THE ENTIRE AUDIENCE UTTERLY RAPT. IF YOU SEE HIM PERFORMING ANYWHERE NEAR YOU, GO AND SEE!"
"ONE OF THE HARDEST WORKING
YOUNG POETS I KNOW. HE CARES DEEPLY ... AND CHANNELS THAT CARE, ALONGSIDE HIS TALENT, INTO BOTH ART AND ACTION.
WORTH LISTENING TO ATTENTIVELY."
"A VOICE THAT IS BOTH INSIGHTFUL AND REFRESHING. A NAME WELL WORTH TAKING NOTE OF."