Ek Zuban Press and Literature Development - Middlesbrough, UK

Ek Zuban means one voice or one tongue in Urdu and reflects our belief that through creative expression we are able to cross boundaries and speak in a way that creates bridges between people and cultures. It was established by co-directors Bob Beagrie and Andy Willoughby in 2003 and has specialised in publishing work from international collaboration projects as well as developing new talent from Teesside. There is a collective of Teesside artists,musicians and writers attached to Ek Zuban and they have worked on many social, community and educational projects specialising in work with hard to reach groups and on projects that link to partners national and internationally resulting in magazine and anthology publication as well as live performances. They have run many school slam projects on Teesside and created exchanges for young poet with Dutch and Finnish partners in particular. Ek Zuban's last publication was Building Bridges - An International Anthology of Ekphrastics (2017)  which linked local and refugee/migrant writers from Middesbrough, Manchester and Finland via their response to  visual art. Bob and Andy are long time hosts of Middlesbrough's long running Electric Kool-Aid Cabaret of the Spoken Word and founding committee members of  the town's bi-annual T Junction International Poetry Festival. They are both featured in Bloodaxe Books' The Land of Three Rivers Anthology of North East poetry  (2017) 


Bob Beagrie is the author of multiple poetry publications including Yoik, (Cinnamon Press 2007), Glass Characters (Red Squirrel 2011)  The Seer Sung Husband and Leasungspell (Smokestack 2010/2017) and is currently touring a new set of poems with music from Project Lono -  Civil Insolencies that draws upon the English Civil War and will be published by Smokestack next year. He often collaborates with other poets and has worked closely with Andy Willoughby on many projects and books including Kids (Mudfog press 2011) and Sampo: Heading Further North (Red Squirrel 2015). His work has been translated into numerous languages including Portugese, Urdu, Finnish and Swedish.  He has held many residencies including at The Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea, has worked as poetry coach for Apples and Snakes, he has been published in many anthologies and magazines and has co-edited numerous anthologies for Ek Zuban Press. He is the co-founder of Teesside poetry Connection dedicated to finding and publishing new talent in the region. As well as working freelance on numerous creative writing and drama projects he is also a Part-time Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Teesside University. 


Andy Willoughby is a poet and playwright/ director who often works in collaboration with jazz/rock musicians, his latest work Between Stations is a multi media show incorporating poetry, film, and a linked travelogue of train journeys through his native Teesside and to Khanty Mansisk, Siberia with a live improvised soundtrack by Finnish and English musicians.The text of Between Stations was published by Smokestack Books to critical acclaim in 2016. He is also the author of Tough (Smokestack 2006),he has had work commissioned by the European Cities of Culture 2011- Turku in Finland and the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.  His work has been translated into multiple languages and Between Stations is due to be published in Finnish and Estonian in 2019. He has been a poetry youth slam coach for Apples an Snakes on their Shake the Dust and Word Cup Projects. He is the co-host of Teessides long running Electric Kool-Aid Cabaret and has been a live promoter of other poets since 2000. He has toured around the UK and Europe for many years, including collaborative dual voice work with Bob Beagrie and has worked on many drama projects with actors and non actor from the community including work with people recovering from homelessness at Theatre Royal Newcastle in collaboration with Crisis Shelter and recently with ex steelworkers and their families following the shutdown of the blast furnace in Redcar.


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