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64 Pages, 5.25 x 8.5

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $17.95 (US $17.95)

Publication Date: July 2018

ISBN 9781784741396

Rights: US

Penguin Random House UK (Jul 2018)
Chatto & Windus

Price: $17.95


A mdebut collection of beautifully crafted and powerful poems, speaking about race in the UK as eloquently and urgently as Claudia Rankine's Citizen did for the U.S.

Translating as "initiation," kumukanda is the name given to the rites a young boy from the Luvale tribe must pass through before he is considered a man. The poems of Kayo Chingonyi's remarkable debut explore this passage: between two worlds, ancestral and contemporary; between the living and the dead; between the gulf of who he is and how he is perceived. Underpinned by a love of music, language, and literature, here is a powerful exploration of race, identity, and masculinity.


"A brilliant debut – a tender, nostalgic and, at times, darkly hilarious exploration of black boyhood, masculinity and grief. A gorgeous and necessary collection from one of my favourite writers." —Warsan Shire

"His language is shot through with contemporary urban jargon, the language of the 1980s and youth culture of the1980s, the classical language of English literature, and his own utterances . . . . What we find in Chingonyi is a willingness to reflect on the complexities that his black male body introduces into the shape and nature of twenty-first century British society, and he does this fully aware that he is adding another necessary chapter in the annals of racial politics." —Kwame Dawes, author, Duppy Conqueror

"Full of nostalgia and gentleness as well as being sharply observant." —Stylist

"Kumakanda is an essential collection from one of the UK's most exciting poets. Kayo's poetry is beautiful, thoughtful, musical and nostalgic." —Nikesh Shukla

"Navigating the experience of growing up with music, flair and a jaw-dropping formal range, this collection is a thing of beauty." —Maria Crawford, Financial Times

"a lyrical, graceful and searing debut by a poet surely meant for great things." —Sunny Singh 

"One of the most resonant new voices rising out of these turbulent times...his verse is grounded in the human heart." --Booklist Online Exclusive

Author Biography

Kayo Chingonyi is the author of Some Bright Elegance. In 2012, he was awarded a Geoffrey Dearmer Prize, and was Associate Poet at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in 2015.